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The Macroeconomic Impact of Unconventional Monetary Policy Shocks

  • Annette Meinusch


    (University of Marburg)

  • Peter Tillmann


    (University of Gießen)

With the Federal Funds rate approaching the zero lower bound, the U.S. Federal Reserve adopted a range of unconventional monetary policy measures known as quantitative Easing (QE). Quantifying the impact QE has on the real economy, however, is not straightforward as standard tools such as VAR models cannot easily be applied. In this paper we use the Qual VAR model (Dueker, 2005) to combine binary information about QE announcements with an otherwise standard monetary policy VAR. The model filters an unobservable propensity to QE out of the observable data and delivers impulse responses to a QE shocks. In contrast to other empirical approaches, QE is endogenously depending on the business cycle, can easily be studied in terms of unexpected policy shocks and its dynamic effects can be compared to a conventional monetary easing. We show that QE shocks have a large impact on real and nominal interest rates and financial conditions and a smaller impact on real activity.

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Paper provided by Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung) in its series MAGKS Papers on Economics with number 201426.

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Date of creation: 2014
Date of revision:
Publication status: Forthcoming in
Handle: RePEc:mar:magkse:201426
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  1. Michael J. Dueker, 2003. "Dynamic forecasts of qualitative variables: a Qual VAR model of U.S. recessions," Working Papers 2001-012, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  2. Fawley, Brett W. & Neely, Christopher J., 2013. "Four stories of quantitative easing," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jan, pages 51-88.
  3. Michael Dueker & Katrin Assenmacher-Wesche, 2010. "Forecasting macro variables with a Qual VAR business cycle turning point index," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(23), pages 2909-2920.
  4. Christiane Baumeister & Luca Benati, 2012. "Unconventional Monetary Policy and the Great Recession: Estimating the Macroeconomic Effects of a Spread Compression at the Zero Lower Bound," Staff Working Papers 12-21, Bank of Canada.
  5. Schenkelberg, Heike & Watzka, Sebastian, 2013. "Real effects of quantitative easing at the zero lower bound: Structural VAR-based evidence from Japan," Munich Reprints in Economics 19757, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  6. James D. Hamilton & Jing Cynthia Wu, 2011. "The Effectiveness of Alternative Monetary Policy Tools in a Zero Lower Bound Environment," NBER Working Papers 16956, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Qianying Chen & Andrew Filardo & Dong He & Feng Zhu, 2012. "International spillovers of central bank balance sheet policies," BIS Papers chapters, in: Bank for International Settlements (ed.), Are central bank balance sheets in Asia too large?, volume 66, pages 220-264 Bank for International Settlements.
  8. Sims, Christopher A, 1980. "Macroeconomics and Reality," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(1), pages 1-48, January.
  9. Gert Peersman, 2012. "Effectiveness of Unconventional Monetary Policy at the Zero Lower Bound," 2012 Meeting Papers 400, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  10. Neely, Christopher J., 2015. "Unconventional monetary policy had large international effects," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 101-111.
  11. Joseph Gagnon & Matthew Raskin & Julie Remache & Brian Sack, 2011. "The Financial Market Effects of the Federal Reserve's Large-Scale Asset Purchases," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 7(1), pages 3-43, March.
  12. Jonathan H. Wright, 2012. "What does Monetary Policy do to Long‐term Interest Rates at the Zero Lower Bound?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 122(564), pages F447-F466, November.
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