Unbundling Quantitative Easing: Taking a Cue from Treasury Auctions
Abstract: We study empirically and theoretically the role of preferred habitat in understanding the economic effects of the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing (QE) purchases. Using high-frequency identification and exploiting the structure of the primary market for U.S. Treasuries, we isolate demand shocks that are transmitted solely through preferred habitat channels, but otherwise mimic QE shocks. We document large “localized” yield curve effects when financial markets are disrupted. Our calibrated model, which embeds a preferred habitat model in a standard New Keynesian framework, can largely account for the observed financial effects of QE. We find that QE is modestly stimulative for output and inflation, but alternative policy designs can generate stronger effects.
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