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Qualitative Easing: How it Works and Why it Matters

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  • Roger E.A. Farmer

Abstract

This paper is about the effectiveness of qualitative easing; a government policy that is designed to mitigate risk through central bank purchases of privately held risky assets and their replacement by government debt, with a return that is guaranteed by the taxpayer. Policies of this kind have recently been carried out by national central banks, backed by implicit guarantees from national treasuries. I construct a general equilibrium model where agents have rational expectations and there is a complete set of financial securities, but where agents are unable to participate in financial markets that open before they are born. I show that a change in the asset composition of the central bank's balance sheet will change equilibrium asset prices. Further, I prove that a policy in which the central bank stabilizes fluctuations in the stock market is Pareto improving and is costless to implement.

Suggested Citation

  • Roger E.A. Farmer, 2012. "Qualitative Easing: How it Works and Why it Matters," NBER Working Papers 18421, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18421
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Shell, Karl, 1971. "Notes on the Economics of Infinity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 79(5), pages 1002-1011, Sept.-Oct.
    2. Arvind Krishnamurthy & Annette Vissing-Jorgensen, 2011. "The Effects of Quantitative Easing on Interest Rates: Channels and Implications for Policy," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 42(2 (Fall)), pages 215-287.
    3. Wallace, Neil, 1981. "A Modigliani-Miller Theorem for Open-Market Operations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 267-274, June.
    4. Shiller, Robert J, 1981. "Do Stock Prices Move Too Much to be Justified by Subsequent Changes in Dividends?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 421-436, June.
    5. Cass, David & Shell, Karl, 1983. "Do Sunspots Matter?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(2), pages 193-227, April.
    6. Christopher J. Neely, 2010. "The large scale asset purchases had large international effects," Working Papers 2010-018, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    7. Rao Aiyagari, S., 1985. "Observational equivalence of the overlapping generations and the discounted dynamic programming frameworks for one-sector growth," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 201-221, August.
    8. Blanchard, Olivier J, 1985. "Debt, Deficits, and Finite Horizons," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(2), pages 223-247, April.
    9. Canlin Li & Min Wei, 2012. "Term structure modelling with supply factors and the Federal Reserve's Large Scale Asset Purchase programs," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2012-37, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. The end of central banking as we knew it
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2012-10-17 19:49:00
    2. 10 Thursday PM Reads
      by Barry Ritholtz in The Big Picture on 2012-10-19 01:30:34

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Roger E.A. Farmer & Carine Nourry & Alain Venditti, 2012. "The Inefficient Markets Hypothesis: Why Financial Markets Do Not Work Well in the Real World," NBER Working Papers 18647, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Ize,Alain & De La Torre,Augusto, 2013. "The conceptual foundations of macroprudential policy : a roadmap," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6576, The World Bank.
    3. Yi Wen, 2013. "Evaluating unconventional monetary policies -why aren’t they more effective?," Working Papers 2013-028, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    4. Gabriel A. Giménez Roche, 2016. "Entrepreneurial ignition of the business cycle: The corporate finance of malinvestment," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 29(3), pages 253-276, September.
    5. de la Torre, Augusto & Ize, Alain, 2013. "The foundations of macroprudential regulation : a conceptual roadmap," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6575, The World Bank.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E0 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General
    • E5 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy

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