Luca Dedola, Georgios Georgiadis, Johannes Gräb, Arnaud Mehl, 21 October 2020

Since the onset of the Global Crisis in 2008, central banks around the world have rolled out a broad array of quantitative easing measures, resulting in dramatic expansions of their balance sheets. This column reveals that that these policies have had large and persistent effects on the dollar/euro exchange rate, mainly through shifts in exchange rate risk and short-term interest rates between the two currencies. Changes in expectations about the future monetary policy stance also affect the response of the dollar/euro exchange rate to quantitative easing.

Elisabeth Kempf, Lubos Pastor, 05 October 2020

The effectiveness of central banks’ asset purchase programmes (‘quantitative easing’) has been a subject of intense debate in both academic and policy circles. Much of the analysis is conducted by the staff of central banks themselves, which is not unlike pharmaceutical firms evaluating their own drugs. Indeed, as this column shows, papers by central bank researchers in the US, the UK, and the euro area report systematically larger effects of unconventional monetary policy on output and inflation than papers by independent academics. This is not to argue that central bank research should be discounted or to question its credibility – but it does highlight a previously unexplored conflict of interest.

Gregor Boehl, Gavin Goy, Felix Strobel, 30 August 2020

Despite their pivotal role, the macroeconomic effects of large-scale asset purchases, known as quantitative easing, remain open to debate. This column provides insights from a structural investigation of the macroeconomic effects of the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing programme during the global financial crisis. In line with the general consensus, the results suggest that asset purchases substantially eased borrowing conditions and facilitated new investment. The rise in investment led to an increase in the productive capacity which, in turn, lowered firms’ marginal cost. These supply-side effects dominated demand-side effects in determining the response of inflation, leading to a mild disinflationary effect.

Alex Cukierman, 27 July 2020

The use of helicopter money as a monetary policy response to Covid-19 has drawn significant attention over recent months. This column offers a comparison of helicopter money and quantitative easing, as used in the wake of the global financial crisis. By evaluating the similarities and differences, as well as the contrasting contexts of each crisis, key advantages and disadvantages are identified. It concludes that the two policy mechanisms may not be as different as first thought, and helicopter money could well be crucial in combating the economic effects of COVID-19. 

Gianluca Benigno, Jon Hartley, Alicia García-Herrero, Alessandro Rebucci, Elina Ribakova, 29 June 2020

Emerging economies are fighting COVID-19 and the economic sudden stop imposed by the containment and lockdown policies, in the same way as advanced economies. However, emerging markets also face large and rapid capital outflows as a result of the pandemic. This column argues that credible emerging market central banks could rely on purchases of local currency government bonds to support the needed health and welfare expenditures and fiscal stimulus. In countries with flexible exchange rate regimes and well-anchored inflation expectations, such quantitative easing would help ease financial conditions, while minimising the risks of large depreciations and spiralling inflation. 

Marcin Kolasa, Grzegorz Wesołowski, 01 May 2020

Several major central banks announced new rounds of massive asset purchases following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. This policy instrument seems to have performed well for economies that have been implementing it since the Global Crisis, but its spillover impact on external countries has remained a bone of contention within the policy debate. Using previous episodes of quantitative easing as a guideline, this column analyses its international spillovers, showing that they are qualitatively and quantitatively different from the impact of changing short-term rates by the major central banks.

David Miles, 30 March 2020

In response to the current economic crisis, central banks have embarked on operations to purchase huge quantities of government bonds. Accusations that these policies amount to ‘printing money’ or ‘helicopter drops’ are unfounded and misleading. This column argues that the asset purchase operations undertaken when interest rates are very low can help greatly in stabilising the economy. These actions allow governments to issue long-term bonds, incur low effective costs in the near horizon, and avoid volatile financial markets. 

Charles Goodhart, Geoffrey Wood, 24 January 2020

Ralf Fendel, Nicola Mai, Oliver Mohr, 17 January 2019

The flattening of the US yield curve has left academics, central bankers and market commentators divided, with one camp interpreting it as a sign of impending recession (in line with historical patterns), and the other camp arguing that this time is different given unprecedented changes in monetary policy and other structural forces. This column argues that the ECB’s quantitative easing programme undermined the performance of term spreads as predictors of recessions. It suggests and tests a modified term spread and several other variables that are more successful at predicting recessions. 

Sayuri Shirai, 16 October 2018

The Bank of Japan has bought massive quantities of Japanese stocks in a bid to increase aggregate demand and inflation, and to encourage Japanese savers to take on more risk. This column surveys the effectiveness of this quantitative easing programme and identifies several key issues, including stock prices not rising in proportion to profits, the overvaluation of some small-cap stocks, and adverse impacts on corporate governance. It argues that before taking any steps toward monetary policy normalisation, the Bank of Japan should introduce flexibility in interpreting the 2% price stability target.

James Hamilton, 12 October 2018

Quantitative easing policies have been used widely over the past decade. This column explores how markets responded to the announcements surrounding the three phases of the Fed’s quantitative easing operations. It also discusses a basic identification problem with high-frequency event studies, namely, that they cannot resolve whether the announcement mattered because it conveyed information about monetary policy or about economic fundamentals. 

Miguel Ampudia, Dimitris Georgarakos, Michele Lenza, Jiri Slacalek, Oreste Tristani, Philip Vermeulen, Gianluca Violante, 14 August 2018

Quantitative easing has recently been shown to affect households differently depending on the composition of their income and wealth. Using euro area data, this column reviews the relevance of the direct and indirect effects of monetary policy on households’ incomes, which varies depending on employment status. The indirect income channel is found to be quantitatively more powerful, and especially beneficial for households holding few or no liquid assets. This implies that expansionary monetary policy in the euro area has led to a reduction in inequality. 

Andrea Polo, 12 February 2018

European banks have responded in different ways to monetary interventions in the last few years. In this video, Andrea Polo discusses the central role monetary policy has taken in Europe, along with its limitations. While the ECB has created substantial liquidity through quantitative easing, these large injections of liquidity may not have been fully passed on to the real economy. This video was recorded at the RELTIF book launch held in London in January 2018.

Toby Nangle, Anthony Yates, 12 October 2017

Among the many in quantitative easing programmes that central banks have engaged in to combat low inflation since the Global Crisis, the Bank of Japan’s programme stands out for its size and scope. This column explores whether the Bank’s programme of purchasing Japanese equities through exchange-traded funds has succeeded in its aim of lowering risk premia of asset prices. The Bank has timed the execution of the programme to coincide with episodes of market weakness, possibly with the aim of dampening price volatility. Over the course of the programme, however, Japanese stocks de-rated against global stocks.

Sayuri Shirai, 06 October 2017

Interest rates in many advanced economies have been declining since the 1990s. This column takes a close look at the case of Japan. In 2013 the Bank of Japan pursued a policy of quantitative and qualitative monetary easing that aimed to lower the real interest rate substantially below its natural rate. The evidence suggests that this policy has had mixed success at best, and that the natural rate of interest may decline in the foreseeable future.

Giovanna Bua, Peter G Dunne, 10 August 2017

By the end of April 2017, the Eurosystem's balance sheet contained €1.8 trillion of assets, mainly as a consequence of asset purchase programmes. This column analyses the portfolio rebalancing effects of the ECB’s programme. The original holders of the assets eligible for purchase by the ECB mainly purchased bonds of deposit-taking corporations outside the Eurozone. Investment funds and their investors did not rebalance significantly toward Eurozone equities or corporate bonds. While exchange rate and cost of capital effects are positive outcomes from the programme, local rebalancing effects appear to be non-existent.

Daniel Gros, 12 June 2017

Exiting from unconventional monetary policies is now a key issue for central banks, and especially for the US Federal Reserve. This column argues that the Fed already began this exit some time ago, and that the relevant part of its balance sheet has already shrunk by about one quarter of GDP. Pursuing the current policy of reinvesting would lead to a full exit within ten years.

The Editors, 08 April 2017

Central banks are now moving towards exiting from quantitative easing and other unconventional monetary policies. This column highlights a 2013 CEPR/ICMB report that examined the policy challenges surrounding this difficult and unprecedented task. It explores ways policymakers could handle exit and its long-run implications. This is part of the CEPR Flashbacks series that highlights the relevance of past CEPR reports to today’s challenges.

Our CEPR Flashbacks highlight past CEPR reports relevant to today’s challenges. This column highlights a report first published in 2013, which examined how the exit from unconventional monetary policies could be handled by policymakers, what the post-exit world will look like, and the long-run implications for central banks. 

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