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Counterfactual Analysis in Macroeconometrics: An Empirical Investigation into the Effects of Quantitative Easing

  • M. Hashem Pesaran

    (University of Cambridge, UK; University of Southern California, USA)

  • Ron P. Smith

    (Birkbeck, University of London, UK)

This paper is concerned with ex ante and ex post counterfactual analyses in the case of macroeconometric applications where a single unit is observed before and after a given policy intervention. It distinguishes between cases where the policy change affects the model’s parameters and where it does not. It is argued that for ex post policy evaluation it is important that outcomes are conditioned on ex post realized variables that are invariant to the policy change but nevertheless influence the outcomes. The effects of the control variables that are determined endogenously with the policy outcomes can be solved out for the policy evaluation exercise. An ex post policy ineffectiveness test statistic is proposed. The analysis is applied to the evaluation of the effects of the quantitative easing (QE) in the UK after March 2009. It is estimated that a 100 basis points reduction in the spread due to QE has an impact effect on output growth of about one percentage point, but the policy impact is very quickly reversed with no statistically significant effects remaining within 9–12 months of the policy intervention.

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Paper provided by The Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis in its series Working Paper Series with number 37_12.

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Date of creation: Jun 2012
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Handle: RePEc:rim:rimwps:37_12
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  1. M Hashem Pesaran & Andreas Pick & Mikhail Pranovich, 2011. "Optimal Forecasts in the Presence of Structural Breaks," DNB Working Papers 327, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
  2. Joshua D. Angrist & Òscar Jordà & Guido M. Kuersteiner, 2013. "Semiparametric estimates of monetary policy effects: string theory revisited," Working Paper Series 2013-24, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  3. Christiane Baumeister & Luca Benati, 2013. "Unconventional Monetary Policy and the Great Recession: Estimating the Macroeconomic Effects of a Spread Compression at the Zero Lower Bound," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 9(2), pages 165-212, June.
  4. Domenico Giannone & Michèle Lenza & Huw Pill & Lucrezia Reichlin, 2010. "Non‐Standard Monetary Policy Measures," Working Papers ECARES ECARES 2010-040, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  5. George Kapetanios & Haroon Mumtaz & Ibrahim Stevens & Konstantinos Theodoridis, 2012. "Assessing the Economy‐wide Effects of Quantitative Easing," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 122(564), pages F316-F347, November.
  6. Athanasios Orphanides & John C. Williams, 2012. "Monetary Policy Mistakes and the Evolution of Inflation Expectations," NBER Chapters, in: The Great Inflation: The Rebirth of Modern Central Banking, pages 255-288 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. James J. Heckman, 2010. "Building Bridges between Structural and Program Evaluation Approaches to Evaluating Policy," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 48(2), pages 356-98, June.
  8. Stephane Dees & Filippo di Mauro & M. Hashem Pesaran & L. Vanessa Smith, 2005. "Exploring the International Linkages of the Euro Area: a Global VAR Analysis," CESifo Working Paper Series 1425, CESifo Group Munich.
  9. James Heckman, 2008. "Econometric causality," CeMMAP working papers CWP01/08, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  10. Charles A. E. Goodhart & Jonathan P. Ashworth, 2012. "QE: a successful start may be running into diminishing returns," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 28(4), pages 640-670, WINTER.
  11. Claudio Borio & Piti Disyatat, 2010. "Unconventional Monetary Policies: An Appraisal," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 78(s1), pages 53-89, 09.
  12. Gabriel Fagan & James R. Lothian & Paul D. Mcnelis, 2013. "Was The Gold Standard Really Destabilizing?," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 28(2), pages 231-249, 03.
  13. Guido M. Imbens & Jeffrey M. Wooldridge, 2008. "Recent Developments in the Econometrics of Program Evaluation," NBER Working Papers 14251, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Michael Joyce & David Miles & Andrew Scott & Dimitri Vayanos, 2012. "Quantitative Easing and Unconventional Monetary Policy – an Introduction," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 122(564), pages F271-F288, November.
  15. Alberto Abadie & Javier Gardeazabal, 2003. "The Economic Costs of Conflict: A Case Study of the Basque Country," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 113-132, March.
  16. Jack Meaning & Feng Zhu, 2011. "The impact of recent central bank asset purchase programmes," BIS Quarterly Review, Bank for International Settlements, December.
  17. Guido W. Imbens, 2010. "Better LATE Than Nothing: Some Comments on Deaton (2009) and Heckman and Urzua (2009)," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 48(2), pages 399-423, June.
  18. Joyce, Michael & Lasaosa, Ana & Stevens , Ibrahim & Tong, Matthew, 2010. "The financial market impact of quantitative easing," Bank of England working papers 393, Bank of England.
  19. Joyce, Michael, 2012. "Quantitative easing and other unconventional monetary policies: Bank of England conference summary," Bank of England Quarterly Bulletin, Bank of England, vol. 52(1), pages 48-56.
  20. M. Hashem Pesaran & L. Vanessa Smith & Ron P. Smith, 2007. "What if the UK or Sweden had joined the euro in 1999? An empirical evaluation using a Global VAR," International Journal of Finance & Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(1), pages 55-87.
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