Helicopter bonds – A reply to Nick Rowe

It is not my ambition to police the blogosphere, but since helicopter money is such a hot topic, this post will point out some inconsistencies in yesterday’s post of Nick Rowe. Keep in mind that I do not criticize him as a person! I have a lot of respect for people who are open about their thinking process, free for the whole world1 to see. Especially when they have a professional stake in this (Dr. Rowe is a professor of economics).

I have copied Nick’s post below in its entirety and put it in italics. The pictures and normal text are mine. For ease of discussion in the comments or on Twitter, I have labeled the pictures as Cases. Continue reading “Helicopter bonds – A reply to Nick Rowe”

Helicopter money part I: where does it come from?

There is a lot of talk about helicopter money on economics blogs and in newspapers lately. As usual, accounting and drawing pictures to explain their ideas are not economists’ strong suit. The predictable result are heated discussions, but not much enlightenment1. This post gives an introduction into what helicopter money is and how it affects the balance sheets and income of economic agents. In a future post, I will explain what helicopter money is supposed to achieve and under which conditions it can be an appropriate macroeconomic policy.

The idea of helicopter money is exactly as the name suggests: money is thrown from helicopters, free for all to take. Formulated a bit less poetically, somebody gives all citizens of a country a certain sum of money. This immediately raises two questions: who throws the money, and where does the money come from? Continue reading “Helicopter money part I: where does it come from?”

How central banks influence interest rates by quantitative easing

On March 10, 2016, Mario Draghi announced that the European Central Bank (ECB) will purchase 80 billion EUR worth of bonds per month. That sounds pretty impressive. But how does the purchase of bonds by the ECB actually work? How does it affect debtors and savers? And what are the risks of this policy?

In this (long) post, I explain the mechanics of what the ECB is doing. Continue reading “How central banks influence interest rates by quantitative easing”