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?”

Hoe de ECB 1000 miljard euro uitgeeft om de rente te verlagen

Op 10 maart 2016 kondigde Mario Draghi aan dat de Europese Centrale Bank (ECB) iedere maand voor 80 miljard euro obligaties zal opkopen. Dat klinkt indrukwekkend. Maar hoe werkt de aankoop van obligaties door de ECB eigenlijk? Welke impact heeft het op schuldenaars en spaarders? En wat zijn de risico’s van dit beleid?

In deze (lange) blogpost leg ik uit wat obligaties zijn en wat de ECB precies doet. Continue reading “Hoe de ECB 1000 miljard euro uitgeeft om de rente te verlagen”

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”