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January/February 2013, 
Vol. 95, No. 1
Posted 2013-01-04

Four Stories of Quantitative Easing

by Brett W. Fawley and Christopher J. Neely

This article describes the circumstances of and motivations for the quantitative easing programs of the Federal Reserve, Bank of England, European Central Bank, and Bank of Japan during the recent financial crisis and recovery. The programs initially attempted to alleviate financial market distress, but this purpose soon broadened to include achieving inflation targets, stimulating the real economy, and containing the European sovereign debt crisis. The European Central Bank and Bank of Japan focused their programs on direct lending to banks—reflecting the bank-centric structure of their financial systems— while the Federal Reserve and the Bank of England expanded their respective monetary bases by purchasing bonds.