Essays on Monetary Policy : Measurement and Transmission




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The federal funds rate became uninformative about the stance of monetary policy from December 2008 to November 2015. During the same period, unconventional monetary policy actions, like forward guidance and large-scale asset purchases, show the Federal Reserve’s intention to depress longer-term interest rates. My research question is whether, after the 2007-2009 financial crisis, monetary policy still effectively influences or adjusts the real economy. The critical challenges are to indicate the impacts of increasingly diversified monetary policy actions and empirically identify monetary policy shocks more comprehensively than exclusively focusing on variation in the policy rate. Chapter 2 considers a long-term real interest rate as an alternative monetary policy indicator in a structural VAR framework. Based on an event study of FOMC announcements, I advance a novel measure of long-term interest rate volatility with important implications for monetary policy identification. I find that monetary policy shocks identified with this volatility measure drive significant swings in credit market sentiments and real output. In contrast, monetary policy shocks identified by otherwise standard unexpected policy rate changes lead to muted responses of financial frictions and production. These finding supports the validity of the risk-taking channel and suggests an indispensable role of financial markets in monetary policy transmission. Chapter 3 documents the pass-through of the short-term interest rate onto the components of Divisia monetary aggregates. The information factors extracted from real balances of monetary assets alleviate the price puzzle, which is commonly seen in conventional monetary VAR analysis of the transmission mechanism. We also show that financial and monetary markets reacted strongly to the Federal Reserve policy after 2007. The strong monetary response varies not only quantitatively over time, but qualitatively across asset classes. Although far from a one-to-one relationship, balances of assets more closely associated with household demand, such as currency and savings, tend to move in the opposite direction of short-term rates—indicative of a liquidity effect. Whereas balances more closely associated with firms returns are mixed, where institutional money markets also show a liquidity effect, large time deposits or commercial paper exhibit a strong Fisher effect post 2007. In summary, this dissertation sets the foundation for future research in the measurement of monetary policy and the investigation of monetary policy transmission to the real economy post the financial crisis.



Monetary policy, Time-series analysis, Capital market, Economics -- United States


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