IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

The Central Bank's Balance Sheet as an Instrument of Monetary Policy

  • Michael Woodford

    (Columbia University)

  • Vasco Curdia

    (Federal Reserve Bank of New York)

While many analyses of monetary policy consider only the adjustment of a central bank's target for a short-term nominal interest rate, other dimensions of policy have recently been of greater importance: changes in the supply of bank reserves beyond those required to achieve an interest-rate target, changes in the assets acquired by central banks, and changes in the interest rate paid on reserves. We extend a standard New Keynesian model to allow a role for the central bank's balance sheet in equilibrium determination, and consider the connections between these alternative dimensions of policy and traditional interest-rate policy. We distinguish between ``quantitative easing'' in the strict sense and targeted asset purchases by a central bank, and argue that while the former is likely be ineffective at all times, the latter dimension of policy can be effective when financial markets are sufficiently disrupted. Neither is a perfect substitute for conventional interest-rate policy, but purchases of illiquid assets are particularly likely to improve welfare when the zero lower bound on the policy rate is reached. We also consider optimal policy with regard to the payment of interest on reserves, and argue that the interest rate on reserves should be kept near the central bank's target for the policy rate at all times.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2010 Meeting Papers with number 136.

in new window

Date of creation: 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:red:sed010:136
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Society for Economic Dynamics Marina Azzimonti Department of Economics Stonybrook University 10 Nicolls Road Stonybrook NY 11790 USA

Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Auerbach, Alan J. & Obstfeld, Maurice, 2012. "The Case for Open-Market Purchases in a Liquidity Trap," Center for International and Development Economics Research, Working Paper Series qt4tm5h0s3, Center for International and Development Economics Research, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  2. Rajnish Mehra & Facundo Piguillem & Edward C. Prescott, 2008. "Costly Financial Intermediation in Neoclassical Growth Theory," NBER Working Papers 14351, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Marvin Goodfriend & Robert G. King, 1998. "The new neoclassical synthesis and the role of monetary policy," Working Paper 98-05, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  4. Pierpaolo Benigno & Michael Woodford, 2004. "Inflation Stabilization and Welfare: The Case of a Distorted Steady State," NBER Working Papers 10838, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Wouter J. Den Haan & Steven W. Sumner & Guy M. Yamashiro, 2011. "Bank Loan Components and the Time‐varying Effects of Monetary Policy Shocks," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 78(312), pages 593-617, October.
  6. Asani Sarkar, 2009. "Liquidity risk, credit risk, and the federal reserve’s responses to the crisis," Financial Markets and Portfolio Management, Springer, vol. 23(4), pages 335-348, December.
  7. Adam Ashcraft & Nicolae Gârleanu & Lasse Heje Pedersen, 2010. "Two Monetary Tools: Interest Rates and Haircuts," NBER Working Papers 16337, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Marvin Goodfriend, 2002. "Interest on reserves and monetary policy," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue May, pages 77-84.
  9. Rajnish Mehra & Facundo Piguillem & Edward C. Prescott, 2007. "Intermediated quantities and returns," Working Papers 655, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  10. Marcin Kacperczyk & Philipp Schnabl, 2010. "When Safe Proved Risky: Commercial Paper during the Financial Crisis of 2007-2009," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 24(1), pages 29-50, Winter.
  11. Vasco Cúrdia & Michael Woodford, 2015. "Credit Frictions and Optimal Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 21820, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Kazuo Ueda, 2009. "Non-Traditional Monetary Polices: G7 Central Banks during 2007-2009 and the Bank of Japan during 1998-2006," CARF F-Series CARF-F-180, Center for Advanced Research in Finance, Faculty of Economics, The University of Tokyo.
  13. Johannes C. Stroebel & John B. Taylor, 2009. "Estimated Impact of the Fed's Mortgage-Backed Securities Purchase Program," NBER Working Papers 15626, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. 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.
  15. Ireland, Peter N, 2004. "Money's Role in the Monetary Business Cycle," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 36(6), pages 969-83, December.
  16. Tobias Adrian & Karin Kimbrough & Dina Marchioni, 2010. "The Federal Reserve's Commercial Paper Funding Facility," Staff Reports 423, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  17. Vasco Cúrdia & Michael Woodford, 2009. "Credit Spreads and Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 15289, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Bennett T. McCallum, 2001. "Monetary policy analysis in models without money," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jul, pages 145-164.
  19. Shigenori Shiratsuka, 2009. "Size and Composition of the Central Bank Balance Sheet: Revisiting Japan fs Experience of the Quantitative Easing Policy," IMES Discussion Paper Series 09-E-25, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan.
  20. Bennett T. McCallum, 2000. "Theoretical analysis regarding a zero lower bound on nominal interest rates," Conference Series ; [Proceedings], Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, pages 870-935.
  21. Wallace, Neil, 1981. "A Modigliani-Miller Theorem for Open-Market Operations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 267-74, June.
  22. Ben S. Bernanke & Mark Gertler, 1995. "Inside the Black Box: The Credit Channel of Monetary Policy Transmission," NBER Working Papers 5146, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Nobuyuki Oda & Kazuo Ueda, 2005. "The Effects of the Bank of Japan's Zero Interest Rate Commitment and Quantitative Monetary Easing on the Yield Curve: A Macro-Finance Approach," CIRJE F-Series CIRJE-F-336, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
  24. Naohiko Baba & Motoharu Nakashima & Yosuke Shigemi & Kazuo Ueda, 2005. "The Bank of Japan's Monetary Policy and Bank Risk Premiums in the Money Market," CIRJE F-Series CIRJE-F-339, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
  25. Hiroshi Ugai, 2007. "Effects of the Quantitative Easing Policy: A Survey of Empirical Analyses," Monetary and Economic Studies, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan, vol. 25(1), pages 1-48, March.
  26. Cúrdia, Vasco & Woodford, Michael, 2009. "Conventional and Unconventional Monetary Policy," CEPR Discussion Papers 7514, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  27. Asani Sarkar & Jeffrey Shrader, 2010. "Financial amplification mechanisms and the Federal Reserve’s supply of liquidity during the crisis," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Aug, pages 55-74.
  28. Joseph E. Gagnon & Matthew Raskin & Julie Remache & Brian P. 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.
  29. John B. Taylor, 2009. "The Financial Crisis and the Policy Responses: An Empirical Analysis of What Went Wrong," NBER Working Papers 14631, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  30. Julio Rotemberg & Michael Woodford, 1997. "An Optimization-Based Econometric Framework for the Evaluation of Monetary Policy," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1997, Volume 12, pages 297-361 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  31. Gauti B. Eggertsson & Michael Woodford, 2003. "The Zero Bound on Interest Rates and Optimal Monetary Policy," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 34(1), pages 139-235.
  32. Cara S. Lown & Donald P. Morgan, 2002. "Credit effects in the monetary mechanism," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue May, pages 217-235.
  33. Okina, Kunio & Shiratsuka, Shigenori, 2004. "Policy commitment and expectation formation: Japan's experience under zero interest rates," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 75-100, March.
  34. Gertler, Mark & Karadi, Peter, 2011. "A model of unconventional monetary policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 17-34, January.
  35. Asani Sarkar, 2009. "Liquidity risk, credit risk, and the Federal Reserve's responses to the crisis," Staff Reports 389, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is featured on the following reading lists or Wikipedia pages:

  1. Wallace neutrality in Wikipedia English ne '')

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:red:sed010:136. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Christian Zimmermann)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.