Monetary and Economic Studies Vol.25, No.1 / March 2007

Effects of the Quantitative Easing Policy: A Survey of Empirical Analyses

Hiroshi Ugai

This paper surveys the empirical analyses that examine the effects of the Bank of Japan's (BOJ's) quantitative easing policy (QEP), which was implemented from March 2001 through March 2006. The survey confirms a clear effect whereby the commitment to maintain the QEP fostered the expectations that the zero interest rate would continue into the future, thereby lowering the yield curve centering on the short- to medium-term range. There were also phases in which an increase in the current account balances held by financial institutions at the BOJ bolstered this expectation. While the results were mixed as to whether expansion of the monetary base and altering the composition of the BOJ's balance sheet led to portfolio rebalancing, generally this effect, if any, was smaller than that stemming from the commitment. When viewing the QEP's impact on Japan's economy through various transmission channels, many of the analyses suggest that the QEP created an accommodative environment in terms of corporate financing. In particular, the QEP contained financial institutions' funding costs from the market and staved off financial institutions' funding uncertainties. The QEP's effect on raising aggregate demand and prices was often limited, due largely to the then progressing corporate balance-sheet adjustment, as well as the zero bound constraint on interest rates.

Keywords: Zero interest rate policy; Quantitative easing policy; Commitment; Zero bound constraint on interest rates; Deflation

Views expressed in the paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Bank of Japan or Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies.

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