Edited by Jan Toporowski and Jo Michell
Chapter 38: Quantitative easing
Quantitative easing (‘QE’) refers to the highly publicized monetary policy response employed by major central banks across the world. The policy was first used by Japan between 2001 and 2006, and more recently by the USA and UK in response to the global financial crisis of 2008–09. While there are some variations between these states in the details of how QE was implemented, in all cases it involved the respective central bank purchasing government bonds matched by a corresponding increase in the level of reserves (termed ‘excess’ reserves) held by banks at the central bank. This policy response produced a rapid and large increase in the size of central bank balance sheets within these countries not experienced since the Great Depression.
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