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Economic Quarterly

Second Quarter 2010

Monetary Policy with Interest on Reserves

Andreas Hornstein

Since the fall of 2008, the amount of outstanding reserves on the Federal Reserve's balance sheet has increased from about 100 billion dollars to more than 1 trillion dollars. There is some concern that the magnitude of outstanding reserves might affect the ability of the Federal Reserve to conduct monetary policy through an interest rate policy. In this article I argue that the ability of the Federal Reserve to pay interest on reserves, also introduced in the fall of 2008, should lessen this concern. For an appropriately modified baseline model of money, I show that, with the payment of interest on reserves, the interaction of monetary and fiscal policy in the determination of the price level is not affected in a quantitatively meaningful way by the amount of outstanding reserves.

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