Economic Policy Review
The Pre-Crisis Monetary Policy Implementation Framework
Forthcoming

JEL classification: E4, E5, N1

Authors: Alexander Kroeger, John McGowan, and Asani Sarkar

This article describes the Federal Reserve’s (“the Fed’s”) operating framework for monetary policy prior to the expansion of the Fed’s balance sheet during the financial crisis. To implement the Fed’s mandate of promoting price stability consistent with full employment, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) sets a target for the overnight rate in the federal funds market, where banks trade reserve balances. In the pre-crisis framework, aggregate reserves were scarce, so relatively small changes in the level of reserves would affect rates in the fed funds market. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Open Market Trading Desk (“the Desk”) forecasted the demand for and supply of reserves on a daily basis, and then conducted repo operations with primary dealers with the objective of supplying enough reserves to maintain the equilibrium rate close to its target. The Desk was successful in achieving this objective, since the fed funds rate generally did remain close to its target, and any deviations were quickly corrected. However, the pre-crisis operating procedures deployed by the Desk were more complex and opaque than alternative operating frameworks, required substantial intraday overdrafts from the Fed to meet banks’ short-term payment needs, and had to be abandoned once the Fed’s balance sheet expanded in response to the financial crisis. Since the crisis, the Desk has successfully controlled the policy rate using a new framework, suggesting that effective monetary control may be achieved through different frameworks.

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AUTHOR DISCLOSURE STATEMENT(S)
Alexander Kroeger
The author declares that he has no relevant or material financial interests that relate to the research described in this paper.

John McGowan
I declare that I have no relevant or material financial interests that relate to the research described in this paper.

Asani Sarkar
The author declares that he has no relevant or material financial interests that relate to the research described in this paper.