Pride Goes Before a Fall: Federal Reserve Policy and Asset Markets
Considerable debate rages about whether Federal Reserve policy was too lax in the early part of the 2000s, thereby fueling the home-price bubble that was the proximate cause of the global financial crisis. We present evidence that the view that modest alterations to monetary policy have vast consequences is inconsistent with theory and not supported by evidence. We take a close look at the responses of asset markets to changes in the short-term policy interest rate since the founding of the Fed in 1914. Changes in the federal funds rate have no systematic effect on either long-term interest rates or housing prices over nearly a century. Indeed, since the mid-1990s the policy rate had a negative relationship with long-term interest rates. This is consistent with a global view of capital markets where massive cross-border flows shape the availability of domestic credit and asset prices. The evidence casts doubts on arguments that a moderately different monetary policy path might have mattered.
|Date of creation:||Feb 2011|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||published as Carmen M. Reinhart and Vincent R. Reinhart, 2011. "Limits of Monetary Policy in Theory and Practice," Cato Journal, Cato Journal, Cato Institute, vol. 31(3), pages 427-439, Fall.|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.|
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- Guillermo A. Calvo & Carmen M. Reinhart, 2000.
"Fear of Floating,"
NBER Working Papers
7993, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Carmen M. Reinhart & Vincent R. Reinhart, 2010.
"After the Fall,"
NBER Working Papers
16334, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Carmen M. Reinhart & Vincent Reinhart, 2010. "After the fall," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 17-60.
- Reinhart, Carmen & Reinhart, Vincent, 2010. "Diminished Expectations, Double Dips, and External Shocks: The Decade After the Fall," MPRA Paper 24969, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Reinhart, Vincent & Simin, Timothy, 1997. "The market reaction to federal reserve policy action from 1989 to 1992," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 149-168.
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