Critics of quantitative easing should consider the alternative | Barry Eichengreen

Political interference with fiscal policy is likelier if central banks shun QE in the next recession

The policy interest rates of advanced-country central banks are stuck at uncomfortably low levels. And not just for the moment: a growing body of evidence suggests that this awkward condition is likely to persist. Inflation in the US, Europe and Japan continues to undershoot official targets. Measures of the “natural” rate of interest consistent with normal economic conditions have been trending downward for years.

Estimates of the natural rate for the US currently put it in the range of 2.25%-2.5% – in other words, just where the Federal Reserve’s policy rate is lodged. This means that the Fed has little scope for tightening without missing its inflation target and endangering economic growth. And what is true of the Fed is truer still of the European Central Bank and the Bank of Japan.

Related: Neoliberalism must be pronounced dead and buried. Where next? | Joseph Stiglitz

Another criticism of QE, especially prevalent in Europe, is that it creates moral hazard for governments

Continue reading…

Leave a Reply

Read the original at Economics | The Guardian.