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What does Monetary Policy do to Long-Term Interest Rates at the Zero Lower Bound?

  • Jonathan H. Wright

The federal funds rate has been stuck at the zero bound for over two years and the Fed has turned to unconventional monetary policies, such as large scale asset purchases to provide stimulus to the economy. This paper uses a structural VAR with daily data to identify the effects of monetary policy shocks on various longer-term interest rates during this period. The VAR is identified using the assumption that monetary policy shocks are heteroskedastic: monetary policy shocks have especially high variance on days of FOMC meetings and certain speeches, while there is nothing unusual about these days from the perspective of any other shocks to the economy. A complementary high-frequency event-study approach is also used. I find that stimulative monetary policy shocks lower Treasury and corporate bond yields, but the effects die off fairly fast, with an estimated half-life of about two months.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w17154.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17154.

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Date of creation: Jun 2011
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Publication status: published as \What does Monetary Policy do to Long-term Interest Rates at the Zero Lower Bound?", Economic Journal , vol. 122 (2012), pp.F447-F466.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17154
Note: ME
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  1. Eric T. Swanson, 2011. "Let's Twist Again: A High-Frequency Event-Study Analysis of Operation Twist and Its Implications for QE2," 2011 Meeting Papers 982, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  2. Christopher J. Neely, 2010. "The large scale asset purchases had large international effects," Working Papers 2010-018, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  3. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Charles Evans, 1994. "The effects of monetary policy shocks: evidence from the Flow of Funds," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues 94-2, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  4. Jean-Luc Vila & Dimitri Vayanos, 2009. "A Preferred-Habitat Model of the Term Structure of Interest Rates," FMG Discussion Papers dp641, Financial Markets Group.
  5. Refet Gurkaynak & Brian Sack & Eric Swanson, 2005. "Do Actions Speak Louder than Words? The Response of Asset Prices to Monetary Policy Actions and Statements," Macroeconomics 0504013, EconWPA.
  6. Joseph Gagnon & Matthew Raskin & Julie Remache & Brian Sack, 2011. "Large-scale asset purchases by the Federal Reserve: did they work?," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue May, pages 41-59.
  7. Taeyoung Doh, 2010. "The efficacy of large-scale asset purchases at the zero lower bound," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Q II, pages 5-34.
  8. Roberto Rigobon & Brian P. Sack, 2002. "The Impact of Monetary Policy on Asset Prices," NBER Working Papers 8794, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Franco Modigliani & Richard Sutch, 1967. "Debt Management and the Term Structure of Interest Rates: An Empirical Analysis of Recent Experience," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75, pages 569.
  10. Kuttner, Kenneth N., 2001. "Monetary policy surprises and interest rates: Evidence from the Fed funds futures market," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 523-544, June.
  11. Sims, Christopher A, 1980. "Macroeconomics and Reality," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(1), pages 1-48, January.
  12. Lutz Kilian, 1998. "Small-Sample Confidence Intervals For Impulse Response Functions," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(2), pages 218-230, May.
  13. Jon Faust & Eric Swanson & and Jonathan H. Wright, 2002. "Identifying vars based on high frequency futures data," International Finance Discussion Papers 720, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  14. Annette Vissing-Jorgensen & Arvind Krishnamurthy, 2011. "The Effects of Quantitative Easing on Long-term Interest Rates," 2011 Meeting Papers 1447, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  15. Roberto Rigobon, 2003. "Identification Through Heteroskedasticity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(4), pages 777-792, November.
  16. Refet S. G�rkaynak & Brian Sack & Jonathan H. Wright, 2010. "The TIPS Yield Curve and Inflation Compensation," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(1), pages 70-92, January.
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