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Perspectives on U.S. Monetary Policy Tools and Instruments

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  • James D. Hamilton

Abstract

The Federal Reserve characterizes its current policy decisions in terms of targets for the fed funds rate and the size of its balance sheet. The fed funds rate today is essentially an administered rate that is heavily influenced by regulatory arbitrage and divorced from its traditional role as a signal of liquidity in the banking system. The size of the Fed’s balance sheet is at best a very blunt instrument for influencing interest rates. In this paper I compare the current operating system with the historical U.S. system and the procedures of other central banks. I then examine strategies for transitioning from the current system to one that would give the Federal Reserve more accurate tools with which to achieve its strategic objective of influencing inflation and output.

Suggested Citation

  • James D. Hamilton, 2019. "Perspectives on U.S. Monetary Policy Tools and Instruments," NBER Working Papers 25911, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:25911
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Marvin Goodfriend & William Whelpley, 1986. "Federal funds : instrument of Federal Reserve policy," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, vol. 72(Sep), pages 3-11.
    2. Robin Greenwood & Dimitri Vayanos, 2014. "Bond Supply and Excess Bond Returns," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 27(3), pages 663-713.
    3. William Poole, 1969. "Optimal choice of monetary policy instruments in a simple stochastic macro model," Special Studies Papers 2, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    4. Cúrdia, Vasco & Woodford, Michael, 2011. "The central-bank balance sheet as an instrument of monetarypolicy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 54-79, January.
    5. James D. Hamilton & Jing Cynthia Wu, 2012. "The Effectiveness of Alternative Monetary Policy Tools in a Zero Lower Bound Environment," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 44, pages 3-46, February.
    6. Han Chen & Vasco Cúrdia & Andrea Ferrero, 2012. "The Macroeconomic Effects of Large‐scale Asset Purchase Programmes," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 122(564), pages 289-315, November.
    7. Leonardo Melosi, 2017. "Signalling Effects of Monetary Policy," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 84(2), pages 853-884.
    8. William Poole, 1970. "Optimal Choice of Monetary Policy Instruments in a Simple Stochastic Macro Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 84(2), pages 197-216.
    9. Emi Nakamura & Jón Steinsson, 2018. "High-Frequency Identification of Monetary Non-Neutrality: The Information Effect," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 133(3), pages 1283-1330.
    10. Gertler, Mark & Karadi, Peter, 2011. "A model of unconventional monetary policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 17-34, January.
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    Citations

    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. The Brave New World of Monetary Policy Operations
      by Steve Cecchetti and Kim Schoenholtz in Money, Banking and Financial Markets on 2019-06-17 12:45:56

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E4 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates
    • E5 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit

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