Avoiding the inflation tax
Optimal policy with probabilistic equilibrium selection
This paper introduces an approach to the study of optimal government policy in economies characterized by a coordination problem and multiple equilibria. Such models are often criticized as not being useful for policy analysis because they fail to assign a unique prediction to each possible policy choice. We employ a selection mechanism that assigns, ex ante, a probability to each equilibrium indicating how likely it is to obtain. With this, the optimal policy is well defined. We show how such a mechanism can be derived as the natural result of an adaptive learning process. This approach ...
The Role of Central Bank Lending in the Conduct of Monetary Policy
Central banks can extend credit in pursuit of different policy objectives, two of which are discussed in this Economic Brief. First, lending can be used to achieve interest rate control. Second, lending can be used to provide liquidity insurance. A narrow view of central bank lending emphasizes the first objective, in which subsidized credit to targeted market participants is not seen as essential. A broader view considers targeted lending as sometimes necessary. Which perspective is favored is largely, though not wholly, dependent on judgments about the prevalence of frictions that inhibit ...
The Fed's Discount Window in "Normal" Times
We study new transaction-level data of discount window borrowing in the U.S. from 2010–17, merged with quarterly data on bank financial conditions (balance sheet and revenue). The objective is to improve our understanding of the reasons why banks use the discount window during periods outside financial crises. We also provide a model of the decision of banks to borrow at the window, which is helpful for interpreting the data. We find that decisions to gain access and to borrow at the discount window are meaningfully correlated with some relevant characteristics of banks and the composition ...
The Fed's Discount Window in "Normal" Times
We study new transaction-level data of discount window borrowing in the U.S. between 2010 and 2017, merged with quarterly data on bank financial con- ditions (balance sheet and revenue). The objective is to improve our under- standing of the reasons for why banks use the discount window during periods outside financial crises. We also provide a model of the decision of banks to borrow at the window, which is helpful for interpreting the data. We find that decisions to gain access and to borrow at the discount window are meaning- fully correlated with some relevant banks' characteristics and ...
The Fed's Discount Window: An Overview of Recent Data
From July 2010 until June 2015, the Federal Reserve made over 16,000 loans to financial institutions through the discount window. Recent regulations mandate the release of detailed information about individual loans two years after their occurrence. We study the newly available loan data and uncover the main patterns that broadly describe activity at the Fed?s discount window in recent years.
Discount Window Lending: Policy Trade-offs and the 1985 BoNY Computer Failure
On November 21, 1985, the Bank of New York (BoNY) suffered a software failure that left it unable to redeliver securities it had received from other institutions as an intermediary. The result of the failure was that the bank sought and received $22.6 billion in discount window lending from the New York Fed, a record-setting amount. The episode presents a case study for considering when discount window lending and similar interventions are justified as a matter of efficiency, as well as the need for policymakers to take account of possible moral hazard that may lead to inadequate safeguards ...
Run equilibria in a model of financial intermediation
We study the Green and Lin (2003) model of financial intermediation with two new features: traders may face a cost of contacting the intermediary, and consumption needs may be correlated across traders. We show that each feature is capable of generating an equilibrium in which some (but not all) traders ?run? on the intermediary by withdrawing their funds at the first opportunity regardless of their true consumption needs. Our results also provide some insight into elements of the economic environment that are necessary for a run equilibrium to exist in general models of financial ...
Excess reserves and the new challenges for monetary policy
Interest on reserves allows the Federal Reserve to pursue an appropriate monetary policy even with a high level of excess reserves. However, a banking system flush with excess reserves can raise the risk of monetary policy getting behind the curve.
Basel III and the continuing evolution of bank capital regulation
Adopted in part as a response to the 2007-08 financial crisis, the Basel III accord is the most recent revision to international capital standards for banks. Basel III primarily relies on methods similar to those of Basel II for assessing the relative risks of different types of assets. The main focus of the changes in Basel III, rather, is to increase banks' equity capital requirements. This emphasis is a reflection of the conclusions drawn from the crisis: that bank fragility is more prevalent than previously thought and that the motivation for governments to assist banks in poor financial ...