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Old Sunday, October 21, 2012
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Default Economic Concepts

Trickle-down effect
Trickle-down effect refers to letting businesses flourish, since their profits will ultimately trickle down to lower-income individuals and the rest of the economy through more investment and employment opportunities. Income tax cuts will result in the increased disposable income of the rich which will result in increased spending and ultimately create additional aggregate demand in the economy, which in turn will create more jobs and higher wages for labor. Firms will re-invest their higher profits for expansion which will bring higher growth, higher wages, and shared income.
Tax breaks or other economic benefits provided by government to businesses/wealthy/top income earners benefit the poor as the wealth necessarily “trickles down” to them, mainly through employment generated by the demand for personal services and as a result of additional investments made by the wealthy/firms. If the top earners are taxed less they will invest more into the business infrastructure and equity markets, it will in turn lead to more goods at lower prices, and create more jobs for middle and lower class individuals.
Gross Domestic Product
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as evident from the term itself, is based on the economic activity within a country. It is monetary value of all the final goods and services produced within a country in a given period of time (normally one year).
(GDP does not take into account the foreign flows (inflows and outflows).
Gross domestic product (GDP) is the market value of all officially recognized final goods and services produced within a country in a given period. GDP per capita is often considered an indicator of a country's standard of living;[2][3] GDP per capita is not a measure of personal income (SeeStandard of living and GDP). Under economic theory, GDP per capita exactly equals the gross domestic income (GDI) per capita (See Gross domestic income).
GDP is related to national accounts, a subject in macroeconomics. GDP is not to be confused with Gross National Product (GNP) which allocates production based on ownership.

Gross National Product
Whereas, Gross National Product (GNP) takes into account the foreign flows too (net income made abroad).

GDP is the value of goods and services produced within the boundaries of a country and GNP is the value of goods and services produced by all the citizens of a country where ever they may be.

Expenditure Method Formula:

GDP = consumption + investment + (government spending) + (exports – imports), or, GDP = C + I + G + (X-M)

GNP = GDP + NR (Net income from assets abroad (Net Income Receipts)) ).
Gross National Product (GNP) is the market value of all products and services produced in one year by labour and property supplied by the residents of a country. Unlike Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which defines production based on the geographical location of production, GNP allocates production based on ownership.
GNP does not distinguish between qualitative improvements in the state of the technical arts (e.g., increasing computer processing speeds), and quantitative increases in goods (e.g., number of computers produced), and considers both to be forms of "economic growth".[1]
Basically, GNP is the total value of all final goods and services produced within a nation in a particular year, plus income earned by its citizens (including income of those located abroad), minus income of non-residents located in that country. GNP measures the value of goods and services that the country's citizens produced regardless of their location. GNP is one measure of the economic condition of a country, under the assumption that a higher GNP leads to a higher quality of living, all other things being equal.

Pakistan’s Tax Problem: Measures to Curb Tax Dilemma

One of the most serious problems impeding the economic growth of Pakistan is undoubtedly the ineffectiveness of Tax collection. As a result of the appalling tax o0 GDP ratio of Pakistan, the government has no other mean but to borrow money from financial institution; minimize spending on the development of the economy; force the State Bank of Pakistan to print more money or look for various sources to provide them with aid.
Since 1990s, Pakistan has failed to improve its tax collection. Even though various tax reforms had been introduced in the country, but none of them lived up to its desired outcomes. However, similar reforms in the neighbouring countries brought up a massive improvement in the tax revenue generation.
In order to curb this escalating tax problem in Pakistan, the government needs to take effective measures, which may include:
• Ensuring that tax revenue would be used for the welfare of the society. Making detailed plans, as to how various sectors of the economy such as education, healthcare and most importantly transport could be improved using the taxpayer’s money. This would motivate the people to pay higher taxes, as they would seek a proportionately higher return in terms of better provision of public goods.
• Currently, the tax policies are such which lead to massive tax evasion. Such policies, for e.g, the minimum salary for tax evasion, would need to be revised. Also, it must be made sure that every citizen, irrespective of their social status, abides by the law set by the government. This way the tax base of Pakistan would be broadened; tax revenue can be largely increased, as now tax would be collected from groups which had been previously avoiding paying taxes.
• The taxing methods would need to be revised and converted from indirect to direct. The former approach puts greater burden on the middle and lower class, while the latter approach seems to focus more on the upper class. This way, the goals of redistribution of income can be successfully achieved throughout the country. Also, in order to motivate the particular classes to pay taxes, the government may seek to reduce the tax rates (Something which the government practised this year, and experienced a 27 per cent growth in tax collection). Though, this might result in lower tax revenue, but indeed a larger fraction of the population would then be in a position to afford paying taxes, hence the total revenue would increase but a slower rate.
Even though, according to the statistics issued by the Federal Board of Revenue a growth has been observed in the tax collection during the months of July and November of 2011, as compared to the same time period in the year before, but still the government stands quite far away from reaching the tax collection target of Rs. 1952 billion for the fiscal year 12. However, if the aforementioned points are effectively implemented, then the government of Pakistan will surely experience an increase in tax payment throughout the country.

How to control Inflation?

There are broadly two ways of controlling inflation in an economy – Monetary measures and fiscal measures.

There are broadly two ways of controlling inflation in an economy:

1). Monetary measures and

2). Fiscal measures

I).Monetary Measures
The most important and commonly used method to control inflation is monetary policy of the Central Bank. Most central banks use high interest rates as the traditional way to fight or prevent inflation.

Monetary measures used to control inflation include:
(i) bank rate policy
(ii) cash reserve ratio and
(iii) open market operations.

Bank rate policy is used as the main instrument of monetary control during the period of inflation. When the central bank raises the bank rate, it is said to have adopted a dear money policy. The increase in bank rate increases the cost of borrowing which reduces commercial banks borrowing from the central bank. Consequently, the flow of money from the commercial banks to the public gets reduced. Therefore, inflation is controlled to the extent it is caused by the bank credit.

Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) : To control inflation, the central bank raises the CRR which reduces the lending capacity of the commercial banks. Consequently, flow of money from commercial banks to public decreases. In the process, it halts the rise in prices to the extent it is caused by banks credits to the public.

Open Market Operations: Open market operations refer to sale and purchase of government securities and bonds by the central bank. To control inflation, central bank sells the government securities to the public through the banks. This results in transfer of a part of bank deposits to central bank account and reduces credit creation capacity of the commercial banks.

II). Fiscal Measures
Fiscal measures to control inflation include taxation, government expenditure and public borrowings. The government can also take some protectionist measures (such as banning the export of essential items such as pulses, cereals and oils to support the domestic consumption, encourage imports by lowering duties on import items etc.).


The National Commission on Agriculture defined agricultural marketing as a process which starts with a decision to produce a saleable farm commodity and it involves all aspects of market structure of system, both functional and institutional, based on technical and economic considerations and includes pre and post- harvest operations, assembling, grading, storage, transportation and distribution. The Indian council of Agricultural Research defined involvement of three important functions, namely (a) assembling (concentration) (b) preparation for consumption (processing) and (c) distribution.
Agricultural marketing can be defined as the commercial functions involved in transferring agricultural products consisting of farm, horticultural and other allied products from producer to consumer. Agricultural marketing also reflect another dimension from supply of produce from rural to rural and rural to urban and from rural to industrial consumers. In the olden days selling of agricultural produce was easy as it was direct between the producer to the consumer either for money or for barter. It brief, it was selling not marketing. In the modern world it became challenging with the latest technologies and involvement of middlemen, commission agents who keep their margins and move the produce further. As it is well known more the number of mediatory more will be the costs as each transaction incurs expenses and invites profits. Ultimately when it comes to the producer the cost of the produce goes up steep. In the entire process of marketing the producer gets the lowest price and the ultimate consumer pays the highest as the involvement of more middlemen in the entire distribution process.

There are several complexities involved in agricultural marketing as agricultural produce involves element of risk like perish ability and it again depends on the type of produce. If the agriculture produce happens to be a seasonal one it involves another kind of risk. Like wise, there are several risk elements involved in agricultural marketing. The pricing of the produce depends on factors like seasonality and perish ability and it depends on the demand and supply also. And all these are interwoven and ultimately make a deep impact on agricultural marketing.


There are several challenges involved in marketing of agricultural produce. There is limited access to the market information, literacy level among the farmers is low, multiple channels of distribution that eats away the pockets of both farmers and consumers. The government funding of farmers is still at nascent stage and most of the small farmers still depend on the local moneylenders who are leeches and charge high rate of interest. There are too many vultures that eat away the benefits that the farmers are supposed to get. Although we say that technology have improved but it has not gone to the rural levels as it is confined to urban areas alone. There are several loopholes in the present legislation and there is no organized and regulated marketing system for marketing the agricultural produce. The farmers have to face so many hardships and have to overcome several hurdles to get fair and just price for their sweat.


The globalization has brought drastic changes in India across all sectors and it is more so on agriculture, farmers and made a deep impact on agricultural marketing. It is basically because of majority of Indians are farmers. It has brought several challenges and threats like uncertainty, turbulence, competitiveness, apart from compelling them to adapt to changes arising out of technologies. If it is the dark cloud there is silver lining like having excellent export opportunities for our agricultural products to the outside world.


Below are the certain measures that can be affected to bring out the reforms in agricultural marketing so as to ensure just and fair price for the farming community.

• Provide loans to the farmer at low rate of interest so that they will be freed from the clutches of local moneylenders who squeeze them. It is said that farmer in born into debt, lives in debt and dies in debt. Right from the beginning of the life, the poor farmers approach money lenders for investing into cultivation who levies very high rate of interest and who takes away the maximum amount of the share from the produce. In case if the crop fails due to natural calamities then the situation would be worse as the farmer is not in a position to pay his loans. And ultimately he is forced to sell the land at throw away price to the money lender.
• It is essential to provide subsidized power supply and loans to the farmers as the expenses towards power consumption takes considerable amount of investments.
• Generate a new distribution network that connects the farmers directly to the consumers to get maximum returns as the present channel of distribution involves multiple mediatory who take away the major portion of profits which otherwise the farmers is supposed to get.
• Elimination of the existing loopholes in the present legislations is warranted.
• There should be stringent action against black marketers and hoarders who buy the stocks from farmers at cheap prices and create artificial demand and then sell the stocks at higher prices.
• Creating local outlets at each village where the farmers sell their stocks directly to the consumers or the authorized buyers at fixed prices would help to a great extent. Intervention of government in this network is essential to bring the fruits to the farmers.
• At the village level there should be counseling centers for farmers about the worth of their stocks so that they can get fair price. The crucial role of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) is needed in this context.
• The existing legislations are outdated and are not in tune with the changing trends and technological inventions and the same need to be updated forthwith.
• The retail revolution has brought several changes in the retail sector where the retail giants buy in bulk directly from the suppliers and sell to the consumers directly and in this process they pass the benefits to the consumers as well. In the past the consumers were paying more for less as there were many channels of distribution system and now the consumers pay less for more.
• The government is already fulfilling the objective of providing reasonable prices for the basic food commodities through Public Distribution System with a network of 350,000 fair-price shops that are monitored by state governments. It is more effective in states like Punjab, Haryana and some parts of Uttar Pradesh. And the same needs to be strengthened across the country.
• Government should levy single entry tax in stead of levying multiple entry taxes either directly or indirectly for the transactions and activities that are involved in agricultural marketing such as transportation, processing, grading etc., as it would benefit both farmers and consumers directly.


Direct marketing of the agricultural produce is the need of the hour. Efforts may be made to provide facilities for lifting the entire stock that farmers are willing to sell with incentive price. There should be provision for storing the stocks such as godowns and warehouses. It helps the farmers to hold the stocks till the prices are stabilized. Usually immediately just after the harvest the prices would be low and if the farmers are patient in holding the same for some time it would fetch better prices. The brokers play the games during the trading of the agricultural stocks which the farmers do not know and realize because of improper information about the market prices. The brokers without any investment and with their negotiation skills transfer stocks by buying at low prices and selling at higher prices to the other end. The farmers need to be educated in this regard.

There should be all-round rationalization and standardization of the prices through legislative means. Presently there is vast gap between the marketing strategies of agricultural produce in India and abroad and the same needs to be bridge. Remove the various malpractices prevalent in the present system. There is need to set up marketing committees which has the representation of growers, merchants, local bodies, traders and nominees from the govt. There should be collective and integrative efforts and energies from all quarters for ensuring just and price for farmers.


There is no doubt that in any marketing there is a motive towards profit involved and at the same time the marketing is to be based on certain values, principles and philosophies such as offering just and fair prices to the farmers who toil hard to till. Bringing necessary reforms coupled with proper price discovery mechanism through regulated market system will help streamline and strengthen the agricultural marketing.

In order to avoid isolation of small-scale farmers from the benefits of agricultural produce they need to be integrated and informed with the market knowledge like fluctuations, demand and supply concepts which are the core of economy. Marketing of agriculture can be made effective if it is looked from the collective and integrative efforts from various quarters by addressing to farmers, middlemen, researchers and administrators. It is high time we brought out significant strategies in agricultural marketing with innovative and creative approaches to bring fruits of labor to the farmers.

Total outlay Rs2.96 trillion; fiscal deficit 4.7%; GDP targeted at 4.2%; inflation 11-12%; revenue target set at Rs2.504trn; Rs926 bn (31.3 % of total budget) allocated for debt servicing; defence allocation Rs545 bn; National Development budget allocation Rs873 bn; 20% ad hoc increase in pay and pension for government servants; Rs183 billion allocated for overcoming energy crisis; Rs70 bn allocated for Benazir Income Support Programme.

What is Circular Debt? Problem of Circular Debt in Pakistan
THE term ‘circular debt’ in the power sector is widely understood in the country as representing an issue whose solution has eluded policymakers for the last three years. This article attempts to explain the genesis of the problem and ways to resolve it. Circular debt arises when one party not having adequate cash flows to discharge its obligations to its suppliers withholds payments. When it does so, the problem affects other entities in the supply chain, each of which withholds its payments, resulting in operational difficulties for all service providers in the sector, none of whom are then able to function at full capacity, causing unnecessary loadshedding. The circular debt numbers that get reported in the press tend to be the sum of the receivables of each organisation which ends up exaggerating the amount, simply because of double counting. After all, one party’s payables are the other party’s receivables, and logically these should cancel out when we subtract one from the other. At worst the net amount should be much smaller.
In our case, however, even this net unadjusted amount on June 30, 2011 was in excess of Rs200bn, which this year is growing by Rs95 crore a day! Let’s refer to this outstanding amount as the issue of ‘stock’. To be able to understand what this stock represents and its daily buildup let’s look at a simplified and abridged version of the supply chain which results in electricity being provided in our homes. Refineries provide oil to oil marketing companies. Most of the crude oil is imported and suppliers abroad have to be paid for them to maintain supplies; in their case there can be no debt beyond the terms agreed for the supply of oil.

The oil marketing companies sell oil to the IPPs or the Wapda-owned electricity generation plants (called Gencos) which produce electricity and sell it to the government-run distribution companies referred to as DISCOs (for example Lesco, Pesco, etc) which provide power to our homes and factories and bill us for this service.
The tariff (price) at which the Gencos sell to the DISCOs and the tariff at which electricity is supplied to us consumers is determined by Nepra,after receiving government approval.
The first problem which results in the receivables not cancelling out payables is when the tariff is unable to meet the costs of its generation and distribution. For instance, if the price of oil goes up internationally and tariffs are not revised upwards to account for this increase, there is an element of subsidy whose cost the government has to pick up.
So one component of what constitutes circular debt is the lower rate at which electricity is being charged to the consumer than the cost of its generation and distribution. By failing to foot this subsidy bill the government builds up the circular debt. The bulk of the issue arising from the failure to revise tariffs upwards on a timely basis has been resolved; the remaining adjustment required on this account is Rs100bn for this year, which also includes the cost of poor governance.
Next, three components, and the most critical ones, which raise costs, and feed the circular debt, are the following:
— The inefficiencies of governmentowned generation and distribution companies, cosy deals struck with providers of rental power plants, overstaffing, free provision of electricity to Wapda employees (this costs other consumers Rs10 crore a day), poor maintenance of plant equipment, obsolete technologies (resulting in technical losses), corruption, all of which simply add to the cost of electricity that consumers are being constrained to bear with equanimity through tariff increases.
— The massive issue of electricity theft — the cases of DISCOs in Hyderabad, Peshawar, Quetta and Fata are now well known; with literally no one paying in Fata.
— Poor collection of electricity bills. Rs90bn alone is due from provincial governments. Powerful private individuals and companies are also defaulters as are those who in collusion with Wapda employees do not pay without being disconnected — Rs120bn is due from private consumers! To summarise, the issues are failures to revise electricity tariffs on a timely basis; prevent electricity theft; and ensure collection of billings speedily and disconnecting those not paying their bills; disconnections will actually also reduce the extent of outages/loadshedding. In other words, the principle issue is that of governance.
So what is the solution? The liabilities in the shape of the inherited ‘stock’ of Rs200bn can be cleared as a one-time effort — even, dare I say it, ‘through printing of money’ (the latter admittedly at the expense of a slightly higher rate of inflation) provided, and this would be the major caveat, we take firm and clear initiatives that will prevent the build-up of the circular debt again. I highlight this because the prevailing incentive structures enable those operating the sector to live with the comfortable feeling of business as usual (with the same level of incompetence and degree of poor governance), convinced that the government will simply step forward, yet again, a few months down the road to bail out them out.
From these arguments and facts, it should be fairly obvious that the recent decision of the government to privatise the management of the Gencos not just betrays a weak diagnosis of the problem of circular debt but also overlooks the urgency to ensure continued provision of reliable power so that the economy remains a growing concern — the inefficiencies of Gencos is a relatively minor issue. The principle issue is poor governance, reflected in the sheer failure to weaken the control of powerful lobbies who continue to ride this gravy train while the rest of the population wrings its hands helplessly.
It is difficult to fathom how privatising management of generation companies can solve the problem if electricity tariffs are not raised in a timely manner and government-managed DISCOs fail to prevent electricity theft or col lect their bills regularly and disconnect those not paying their bills i.e. take actions that will ensure cash flows to pay Gencos and suppliers of fuel regularly.
Moreover, with existing IPPs already issuing notices to the government that either their dues be paid or they will wind up their operation, it would not be a good advertisement for any entrepreneur seriously contemplating such an investment, unless he is foolhardy or knows something we don’t — the latter could be a situation in which he will get paid a minimum capacity payment without having to run the plant in the express knowledge that fuel, especially gas, would not be supplied.
In other words, we could just end up facilitating a scam, with a government liability being created in the shape of a capacity payment which never had to be discharged while the generation company was owned by Wapda.
So the correct solution is to either immediately privatise the management or ownership of DISCOs (under an appropriate regulatory framework) or hand them over to the provincial governments. The electricity can be supplied at the provincial borders for the provincial governments to purchase it from the Gencos and manage the DISCOs, thereby relieving Islamabad’s overstretched budget from the burden of this seemingly neverending electricity subsidy. ¦ The writer was formerly governor of the State Bank of Pakistan

Fiscal policy
In economics and political science, fiscal policy is the use of government revenue collection (taxation) and expenditure (spending) to influence the economy.[1] The two main instruments of fiscal policy are government taxation and expenditure. Changes in the level and composition of taxation and government spending can impact the following variables in the economy:
 Aggregate demand and the level of economic activity;
 The pattern of resource allocation;
 The distribution of income.
Fiscal policy refers to the use of the government budget to influence economic activity.
Stances of fiscal policy
The three main stances of fiscal policy are:
 Neutral fiscal policy is usually undertaken when an economy is in equilibrium. Government spending is fully funded by tax revenue and overall the budget outcome has a neutral effect on the level of economic activity.
 Expansionary fiscal policy involves government spending exceeding tax revenue, and is usually undertaken during recessions.
 Contractionary fiscal policy occurs when government spending is lower than tax revenue, and is usually undertaken to pay down government debt.
However, these definitions can be misleading because, even with no changes in spending or tax laws at all, cyclic fluctuations of the economy cause cyclic fluctuations of tax revenues and of some types of government spending, altering the deficit situation; these are not considered to be policy changes. Therefore, for purposes of the above definitions, "government spending" and "tax revenue" are normally replaced by "cyclically adjusted government spending" and "cyclically adjusted tax revenue". Thus, for example, a government budget that is balanced over the course of the business cycle is considered to represent a neutral fiscal policy stance.
Methods of funding
Governments spend money on a wide variety of things, from the military and police to services like education and healthcare, as well as transfer payments such as welfare benefits. This expenditure can be funded in a number of different ways:
 Taxation
 Seigniorage, the benefit from printing money
 Borrowing money from the population or from abroad
 Consumption of fiscal reserves
 Sale of fixed assets (e.g., land)
A fiscal deficit is often funded by issuing bonds, like treasury bills or consols and gilt-edged securities. These pay interest, either for a fixed period or indefinitely. If the interest and capital requirements are too large, a nation may default on its debts, usually to foreign creditors. Public debt or borrowing : it refers to the government borrowing from the public.
Consuming prior surpluses
A fiscal surplus is often saved for future use, and may be invested in either local currency or any financial instrument that may be traded later once resources are needed; notice, additional debt is not needed. For this to happen, the marginal propensity to save needs to be strictly positive.
Economic effects of fiscal policy
Governments use fiscal policy to influence the level of aggregate demand in the economy, in an effort to achieve economic objectives of price stability, full employment, and economic growth.Keynesian economics suggests that increasing government spending and decreasing tax rates are the best ways to stimulate aggregate demand, and decreasing spending & increasing taxes after the economic boom begins. Keynesians argue this method be used in times of recession or low economic activity as an essential tool for building the framework for strong economic growth and working towards full employment. In theory, the resulting deficits would be paid for by an expanded economy during the boom that would follow; this was the reasoning behind the New Deal.
Governments can use a budget surplus to do two things: to slow the pace of strong economic growth, and to stabilize prices when inflation is too high. Keynesian theory posits that removing spending from the economy will reduce levels of aggregate demand and contract the economy, thus stabilizing prices.
Economists debate the effectiveness of fiscal stimulus. The argument mostly centers on crowding out, whether government borrowing leads to higher interest rates that may offset the stimulative impact of spending. When the government runs a budget deficit, funds will need to come from public borrowing (the issue of government bonds), overseas borrowing, or monetizing the debt. When governments fund a deficit with the issuing of government bonds, interest rates can increase across the market, because government borrowing creates higher demand for credit in the financial markets. This causes a lower aggregate demand for goods and services, contrary to the objective of a fiscal stimulus. Neoclassical economists generally emphasize crowding out while Keynesians argue that fiscal policy can still be effective especially in a liquidity trap where, they argue, crowding out is minimal.
Some classical and neoclassical economists argue that crowding out completely negates any fiscal stimulus; this is known as the Treasury View[citation needed], which Keynesian economics rejects. The Treasury View refers to the theoretical positions of classical economists in the British Treasury, who opposed Keynes' call in the 1930s for fiscal stimulus. The same general argument has been repeated by some neoclassical economists up to the present.
In the classical view, the expansionary fiscal policy also decreases net exports, which has a mitigating effect on national output and income. When government borrowing increases interest rates it attracts foreign capital from foreign investors. This is because, all other things being equal, the bonds issued from a country executing expansionary fiscal policy now offer a higher rate of return. In other words, companies wanting to finance projects must compete with their government for capital so they offer higher rates of return. To purchase bonds originating from a certain country, foreign investors must obtain that country's currency. Therefore, when foreign capital flows into the country undergoing fiscal expansion, demand for that country's currency increases. The increased demand causes that country's currency to appreciate. Once the currency appreciates, goods originating from that country now cost more to foreigners than they did before and foreign goods now cost less than they did before. Consequently, exports decrease and imports increase.[2]
Other possible problems with fiscal stimulus include the time lag between the implementation of the policy and detectable effects in the economy, and inflationary effects driven by increased demand. In theory, fiscal stimulus does not cause inflation when it uses resources that would have otherwise been idle. For instance, if a fiscal stimulus employs a worker who otherwise would have been unemployed, there is no inflationary effect; however, if the stimulus employs a worker who otherwise would have had a job, the stimulus is increasing labor demand while labor supply remains fixed, leading to wage inflation and therefore price inflation.
Fiscal straitjacket
The concept of a fiscal straitjacket is a general economic principle that suggests strict constraints on government spending and public sector borrowing, to limit or regulate the budget deficit over a time period. The term probably originated from the definition of straitjacket (anything that severely confines, constricts, or hinders).[3] Various states in the United States have various forms of self-imposed fiscal straitjackets.

Monetary policy
Monetary policy is the process by which the monetary authority of a country controls the supply of money, often targeting a rate of interest for the purpose of promoting economic growth and stability.[1][2] The official goals usually include relatively stable prices and low unemployment. Monetary theory provides insight into how to craft optimal monetary policy. It is referred to as either being expansionary or contractionary, where an expansionary policy increases the total supply of money in the economy more rapidly than usual, and contractionary policy expands the money supply more slowly than usual or even shrinks it. Expansionary policy is traditionally used to try to combat unemployment in a recession by loweringinterest rates in the hope that easy credit will entice businesses into expanding. Contractionary policy is intended to slow inflation in hopes of avoiding the resulting distortions and deterioration of asset values.
Monetary policy differs from fiscal policy, which refers to taxation, government spending, and associated borrowing.[3]
Monetary policy rests on the relationship between the rates of interest in an economy, that is, the price at which money can be borrowed, and the total supply of money. Monetary policy uses a variety of tools to control one or both of these, to influence outcomes like economic growth, inflation, exchange rates with other currencies and unemployment. Where currency is under a monopoly of issuance, or where there is a regulated system of issuing currency through banks which are tied to a central bank, the monetary authority has the ability to alter the money supply and thus influence the interest rate (to achieve policy goals). The beginning of monetary policy as such comes from the late 19th century, where it was used to maintain the gold standard.
A policy is referred to as contractionary if it reduces the size of the money supply or increases it only slowly, or if it raises the interest rate. An expansionary policy increases the size of the money supply more rapidly, or decreases the interest rate. Furthermore, monetary policies are described as follows: accommodative, if the interest rate set by the central monetary authority is intended to create economic growth; neutral, if it is intended neither to create growth nor combat inflation; or tight if intended to reduce inflation.
There are several monetary policy tools available to achieve these ends: increasing interest rates by fiat; reducing the monetary base; and increasing reserve requirements. All have the effect of contracting the money supply; and, if reversed, expand the money supply. Since the 1970s, monetary policy has generally been formed separately from fiscal policy. Even prior to the 1970s, theBretton Woods system still ensured that most nations would form the two policies separately.
Within almost all modern nations, special institutions (such as the Federal Reserve System in the United States, the Bank of England, the European Central Bank, the People's Bank of China, and the Bank of Japan) exist which have the task of executing the monetary policy and often independently of the executive. In general, these institutions are called central banks and often have other responsibilities such as supervising the smooth operation of the financial system.
The primary tool of monetary policy is open market operations. This entails managing the quantity of money in circulation through the buying and selling of various financial instruments, such as treasury bills, company bonds, or foreign currencies. All of these purchases or sales result in more or less base currency entering or leaving market circulation.
Usually, the short term goal of open market operations is to achieve a specific short term interest rate target. In other instances, monetary policy might instead entail the targeting of a specific exchange rate relative to some foreign currency or else relative to gold. For example, in the case of the USA the Federal Reserve targets the federal funds rate, the rate at which member banks lend to one another overnight; however, the monetary policy of China is to target the exchange rate between the Chinese renminbi and a basket of foreign currencies.
The other primary means of conducting monetary policy include: (i) Discount window lending (lender of last resort); (ii) Fractional deposit lending (changes in the reserve requirement); (iii) Moral suasion (cajoling certain market players to achieve specified outcomes); (iv) "Open mouth operations" (talking monetary policy with the market).
Monetary policy is the process by which the government, central bank, or monetary authority of a country controls (i) the supply of money, (ii) availability of money, and (iii) cost of money or rate of interest to attain a set of objectives oriented towards the growth and stability of the economy.[1] Monetary theory provides insight into how to craft optimal monetary policy.
Monetary policy rests on the relationship between the rates of interest in an economy, that is the price at which money can be borrowed, and the total supply of money. Monetary policy uses a variety of tools to control one or both of these, to influence outcomes like economic growth, inflation, exchange rates with other currencies and unemployment. Where currency is under a monopoly of issuance, or where there is a regulated system of issuing currency through banks which are tied to a central bank, the monetary authority has the ability to alter the money supply and thus influence the interest rate (to achieve policy goals).
It is important for policymakers to make credible announcements. If private agents (consumers and firms) believe that policymakers are committed to lowering inflation, they will anticipate future prices to be lower than otherwise (how those expectations are formed is an entirely different matter; compare for instance rational expectations with adaptive expectations). If an employee expects prices to be high in the future, he or she will draw up a wage contract with a high wage to match these prices.[citation needed] Hence, the expectation of lower wages is reflected in wage-setting behavior between employees and employers (lower wages since prices are expected to be lower) and since wages are in fact lower there is no demand pull inflation because employees are receiving a smaller wage and there is no cost push inflation because employers are paying out less in wages.
To achieve this low level of inflation, policymakers must have credible announcements; that is, private agents must believe that these announcements will reflect actual future policy. If an announcement about low-level inflation targets is made but not believed by private agents, wage-setting will anticipate high-level inflation and so wages will be higher and inflation will rise. A high wage will increase a consumer's demand (demand pull inflation) and a firm's costs (cost push inflation), so inflation rises. Hence, if a policymaker's announcements regarding monetary policy are not credible, policy will not have the desired effect.
If policymakers believe that private agents anticipate low inflation, they have an incentive to adopt an expansionist monetary policy (where the marginal benefit of increasing economic output outweighs the marginal cost of inflation); however, assuming private agents have rational expectations, they know that policymakers have this incentive. Hence, private agents know that if they anticipate low inflation, an expansionist policy will be adopted that causes a rise in inflation. Consequently, (unless policymakers can make their announcement of low inflation credible), private agents expect high inflation. This anticipation is fulfilled through adaptive expectation (wage-setting behavior);so, there is higher inflation (without the benefit of increased output). Hence, unless credible announcements can be made, expansionary monetary policy will fail.
Announcements can be made credible in various ways. One is to establish an independent central bank with low inflation targets (but no output targets). Hence, private agents know that inflation will be low because it is set by an independent body. Central banks can be given incentives to meet targets (for example, larger budgets, a wage bonus for the head of the bank) to increase their reputation and signal a strong commitment to a policy goal. Reputation is an important element in monetary policy implementation. But the idea of reputation should not be confused with commitment.
While a central bank might have a favorable reputation due to good performance in conducting monetary policy, the same central bank might not have chosen any particular form of commitment (such as targeting a certain range for inflation). Reputation plays a crucial role in determining how much markets would believe the announcement of a particular commitment to a policy goal but both concepts should not be assimilated. Also, note that under rational expectations, it is not necessary for the policymaker to have established its reputation through past policy actions; as an example, the reputation of the head of the central bank might be derived entirely from his or her ideology, professional background, public statements, etc.
In fact it has been argued[4] that to prevent some pathologies related to the time inconsistency of monetary policy implementation (in particular excessive inflation), the head of a central bank should have a larger distaste for inflation than the rest of the economy on average. Hence the reputation of a particular central bank is not necessarily tied to past performance, but rather to particular institutional arrangements that the markets can use to form inflation expectations.
Despite the frequent discussion of credibility as it relates to monetary policy, the exact meaning of credibility is rarely defined. Such lack of clarity can serve to lead policy away from what is believed to be the most beneficial. For example, capability to serve the public interest is one definition of credibility often associated with central banks. The reliability with which a central bank keeps its promises is also a common definition. While everyone most likely agrees a central bank should not lie to the public, wide disagreement exists on how a central bank can best serve the public interest. Therefore, lack of definition can lead people to believe they are supporting one particular policy of credibility when they are really supporting another.[5]
History of monetary policy
Monetary policy is associated with interest rates and availabilility of credit. Instruments of monetary policy have included short-term interest rates and bank reserves through the monetary base.[6]For many centuries there were only two forms of monetary policy: (i) Decisions about coinage; (ii) Decisions to print paper money to create credit. Interest rates, while now thought of as part of monetary authority, were not generally coordinated with the other forms of monetary policy during this time. Monetary policy was seen as an executive decision, and was generally in the hands of the authority with seigniorage, or the power to coin. With the advent of larger trading networks came the ability to set the price between gold and silver, and the price of the local currency to foreign currencies. This official price could be enforced by law, even if it varied from the market price.
Paper money called "jiaozi" originated from promissory notes in 7th century China. Jiaozi did not replace metallic currency, and were used alongside the copper coins. The successive Yuan Dynasty was the first government to use paper currency as the predominant circulating medium. In the later course of the dynasty, facing massive shortages of specie to fund war and their rule in China, they began printing paper money without restrictions, resulting in hyperinflation.
With the creation of the Bank of England in 1694, which acquired the responsibility to print notes and back them with gold, the idea of monetary policy as independent of executive action began to be established.[7] The goal of monetary policy was to maintain the value of the coinage, print notes which would trade at par to specie, and prevent coins from leaving circulation. The establishment of central banks by industrializing nations was associated then with the desire to maintain the nation's peg to the gold standard, and to trade in a narrow band with other gold-backed currencies. To accomplish this end, central banks as part of the gold standard began setting the interest rates that they charged, both their own borrowers, and other banks who required liquidity. The maintenance of a gold standard required almost monthly adjustments of interest rates.
During the 1870–1920 period, the industrialized nations set up central banking systems, with one of the last being the Federal Reserve in 1913.[8] By this point the role of the central bank as the "lender of last resort" was understood. It was also increasingly understood that interest rates had an effect on the entire economy, in no small part because of the marginal revolution in economics, which demonstrated how people would change a decision based on a change in the economic trade-offs.
Monetarist economists long contended that the money-supply growth could affect the macroeconomy. These included Milton Friedman who early in his career advocated that government budget deficits during recessions be financed in equal amount by money creation to help to stimulate aggregate demand for output.[9] Later he advocated simply increasing the monetary supply at a low, constant rate, as the best way of maintaining low inflation and stable output growth.[10] However, when U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker tried this policy, starting in October 1979, it was found to be impractical, because of the highly unstable relationship between monetary aggregates and other macroeconomic variables.[11] Even Milton Friedman acknowledged that money supply targeting was less successful than he had hoped, in an interview with the Financial Times on June 7, 2003.[12][13][14] Therefore, monetary decisions today take into account a wider range of factors, such as:
 short term interest rates;
 long term interest rates;
 velocity of money through the economy;
 exchange rates;
 credit quality;
 bonds and equities (corporate ownership and debt);
 government versus private sector spending/savings;
 international capital flows of money on large scales;
 financial derivatives such as options, swaps, futures contracts, etc.
A small but vocal group of people, primarily libertarians and Constitutionalists,[15] advocate for a return to the gold standard (the elimination of the dollar's fiat currency status and even of the Federal Reserve Bank). Their argument is basically that monetary policy is fraught with risk and these risks will result in drastic harm to the populace should monetary policy fail. Others[who?] see another problem with our current monetary policy. The problem for them is not that our money has nothing physical to define its value, but that fractional reserve lending of that money as a debt to the recipient, rather than a credit, causes all but a small proportion of society (including all governments) to be perpetually in debt.
In fact, many economists[who?] disagree with returning to a gold standard. They argue that doing so would drastically limit the money supply, and throw away 100 years of advancement in monetary policy. The sometimes complex financial transactions that make big business (especially international business) easier and safer would be much more difficult if not impossible. Moreover, shifting risk to different people/companies that specialize in monitoring and using risk can turn any financial risk into a known dollar amount and therefore make business predictable and more profitable for everyone involved. Some have claimed that these arguments lost credibility in the global financial crisis of 2008–2009.
Trends in central banking
The central bank influences interest rates by expanding or contracting the monetary base, which consists of currency in circulation and banks' reserves on deposit at the central bank. The primary way that the central bank can affect the monetary base is by open market operations or sales and purchases of second hand government debt, or by changing the reserve requirements. If the central bank wishes to lower interest rates, it purchases government debt, thereby increasing the amount of cash in circulation or crediting banks' reserve accounts. Alternatively, it can lower the interest rate on discounts or overdrafts (loans to banks secured by suitable collateral, specified by the central bank). If the interest rate on such transactions is sufficiently low, commercial banks can borrow from the central bank to meet reserve requirements and use the additional liquidity to expand their balance sheets, increasing the credit available to the economy. Lowering reserve requirements has a similar effect, freeing up funds for banks to increase loans or buy other profitable assets.
A central bank can only operate a truly independent monetary policy when the exchange rate is floating.[16] If the exchange rate is pegged or managed in any way, the central bank will have to purchase or sell foreign exchange. These transactions in foreign exchange will have an effect on the monetary base analogous to open market purchases and sales of government debt; if the central bank buys foreign exchange, the monetary base expands, and vice versa. But even in the case of a pure floating exchange rate, central banks and monetary authorities can at best "lean against the wind" in a world where capital is mobile.
Accordingly, the management of the exchange rate will influence domestic monetary conditions. To maintain its monetary policy target, the central bank will have to sterilize or offset its foreign exchange operations. For example, if a central bank buys foreign exchange (to counteract appreciation of the exchange rate), base money will increase. Therefore, to sterilize that increase, the central bank must also sell government debt to contract the monetary base by an equal amount. It follows that turbulent activity in foreign exchange markets can cause a central bank to lose control of domestic monetary policy when it is also managing the exchange rate.
In the 1980s, many economists[who?] began to believe that making a nation's central bank independent of the rest of executive government is the best way to ensure an optimal monetary policy, and those central banks which did not have independence began to gain it. This is to avoid overt manipulation of the tools of monetary policies to effect political goals, such as re-electing the current government. Independence typically means that the members of the committee which conducts monetary policy have long, fixed terms. Obviously, this is a somewhat limited independence.
In the 1990s, central banks began adopting formal, public inflation targets with the goal of making the outcomes, if not the process, of monetary policy more transparent. In other words, a central bank may have an inflation target of 2% for a given year, and if inflation turns out to be 5%, then the central bank will typically have to submit an explanation.
The Bank of England exemplifies both these trends. It became independent of government through the Bank of England Act 1998 and adopted an inflation target of 2.5% RPI (now 2% of CPI).
The debate rages on about whether monetary policy can smooth business cycles or not. A central conjecture of Keynesian economics is that the central bank can stimulate aggregate demand in the short run, because a significant number of prices in the economy are fixed in the short run and firms will produce as many goods and services as are demanded (in the long run, however, money is neutral, as in the neoclassical model). There is also the Austrian school of economics, which includes Friedrich von Hayek and Ludwig von Mises's arguments,[17] which argues that central bank monetary policy aggravates the business cycle, creating malinvestment and maladjustments in the economy which then cause downcycle corrections, but most economists fall into either the Keynesian or neoclassical camps on this issue.
Developing countries
Developing countries may have problems establishing an effective operating monetary policy. The primary difficulty is that few developing countries have deep markets in government debt. The matter is further complicated by the difficulties in forecasting money demand and fiscal pressure to levy the inflation tax by expanding the monetary base rapidly. In general, the central banks in many developing countries have poor records in managing monetary policy. This is often because the monetary authority in a developing country is not independent of government, so good monetary policy takes a backseat to the political desires of the government or are used to pursue other non-monetary goals. For this and other reasons, developing countries that want to establish credible monetary policy may institute a currency board or adopt dollarization. Such forms of monetary institutions thus essentially tie the hands of the government from interference and, it is hoped, that such policies will import the monetary policy of the anchor nation.
Recent attempts at liberalizing and reforming financial markets (particularly the recapitalization of banks and other financial institutions in Nigeria and elsewhere) are gradually providing the latitude required to implement monetary policy frameworks by the relevant central banks.
Types of monetary policy
In practice, to implement any type of monetary policy the main tool used is modifying the amount of base money in circulation. The monetary authority does this by buying or selling financial assets (usually government obligations). These open market operations change either the amount of money or its liquidity (if less liquid forms of money are bought or sold). The multiplier effect of fractional reserve banking amplifies the effects of these actions.
Constant market transactions by the monetary authority modify the supply of currency and this impacts other market variables such as short term interest rates and the exchange rate.
The distinction between the various types of monetary policy lies primarily with the set of instruments and target variables that are used by the monetary authority to achieve their goals.

Monetary Policy: Target Market Variable: Long Term Objective:
Inflation Targeting Interest rate on overnight debt A given rate of change in the CPI
Price Level Targeting Interest rate on overnight debt A specific CPI number
Monetary Aggregates The growth in money supply A given rate of change in the CPI
Fixed Exchange Rate The spot price of the currency The spot price of the currency
Gold Standard The spot price of gold Low inflation as measured by the gold price
Mixed Policy Usually interest rates Usually unemployment + CPI change
The different types of policy are also called monetary regimes, in parallel to exchange rate regimes. A fixed exchange rate is also an exchange rate regime; The Gold standard results in a relatively fixed regime towards the currency of other countries on the gold standard and a floating regime towards those that are not. Targeting inflation, the price level or other monetary aggregates implies floating exchange rate unless the management of the relevant foreign currencies is tracking exactly the same variables (such as a harmonized consumer price index).
Inflation targeting
Main article: Inflation targeting
Under this policy approach the target is to keep inflation, under a particular definition such as Consumer Price Index, within a desired range.
The inflation target is achieved through periodic adjustments to the Central Bank interest rate target. The interest rate used is generally the interbank rate at which banks lend to each other overnight for cash flow purposes. Depending on the country this particular interest rate might be called the cash rate or something similar.
The interest rate target is maintained for a specific duration using open market operations. Typically the duration that the interest rate target is kept constant will vary between months and years. This interest rate target is usually reviewed on a monthly or quarterly basis by a policy committee.
Changes to the interest rate target are made in response to various market indicators in an attempt to forecast economic trends and in so doing keep the market on track towards achieving the defined inflation target. For example, one simple method of inflation targeting called the Taylor rule adjusts the interest rate in response to changes in the inflation rate and the output gap. The rule was proposed by John B. Taylor of Stanford University.[18]
The inflation targeting approach to monetary policy approach was pioneered in New Zealand. It is currently used in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, New Zealand, Norway, Iceland, India, Philippines, Poland, Sweden, South Africa, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.
Price level targeting
Price level targeting is similar to inflation targeting except that CPI growth in one year over or under the long term price level target is offset in subsequent years such that a targeted price-level is reached over time, e.g. five years, giving more certainty about future price increases to consumers. Under inflation targeting what happened in the immediate past years is not taken into account or adjusted for in the current and future years.
Uncertainty in price levels can create uncertainty around price and wage setting activity for firms and workers, and undermines any information that can be gained from relative prices, as it is more difficult for firms to determine if a change in the price of a good or service is because of inflation or other factors, such as an increase in the efficiency of factors of production, if inflation is high andvolatile. An increase in inflation also leads to a decrease in the demand for money, as it reduces the incentive to hold money and increases transaction costs and shoe leather costs.
Monetary aggregates
In the 1980s, several countries used an approach based on a constant growth in the money supply. This approach was refined to include different classes of money and credit (M0, M1 etc.). In the USA this approach to monetary policy was discontinued with the selection of Alan Greenspan as Fed Chairman.
This approach is also sometimes called monetarism.
While most monetary policy focuses on a price signal of one form or another, this approach is focused on monetary quantities.
Fixed exchange rate
This policy is based on maintaining a fixed exchange rate with a foreign currency. There are varying degrees of fixed exchange rates, which can be ranked in relation to how rigid the fixed exchange rate is with the anchor nation.
Under a system of fiat fixed rates, the local government or monetary authority declares a fixed exchange rate but does not actively buy or sell currency to maintain the rate. Instead, the rate is enforced by non-convertibility measures (e.g. capital controls, import/export licenses, etc.). In this case there is a black market exchange rate where the currency trades at its market/unofficial rate.
Under a system of fixed-convertibility, currency is bought and sold by the central bank or monetary authority on a daily basis to achieve the target exchange rate. This target rate may be a fixed level or a fixed band within which the exchange rate may fluctuate until the monetary authority intervenes to buy or sell as necessary to maintain the exchange rate within the band. (In this case, the fixed exchange rate with a fixed level can be seen as a special case of the fixed exchange rate with bands where the bands are set to zero.)
Under a system of fixed exchange rates maintained by a currency board every unit of local currency must be backed by a unit of foreign currency (correcting for the exchange rate). This ensures that the local monetary base does not inflate without being backed by hard currency and eliminates any worries about a run on the local currency by those wishing to convert the local currency to the hard (anchor) currency.
Under dollarization, foreign currency (usually the US dollar, hence the term "dollarization") is used freely as the medium of exchange either exclusively or in parallel with local currency. This outcome can come about because the local population has lost all faith in the local currency, or it may also be a policy of the government (usually to rein in inflation and import credible monetary policy).
These policies often abdicate monetary policy to the foreign monetary authority or government as monetary policy in the pegging nation must align with monetary policy in the anchor nation to maintain the exchange rate. The degree to which local monetary policy becomes dependent on the anchor nation depends on factors such as capital mobility, openness, credit channels and other economic factors.
See also: List of fixed currencies
Gold standard
Main article: Gold standard
The gold standard is a system under which the price of the national currency is measured in units of gold bars and is kept constant by the government's promise to buy or sell gold at a fixed price in terms of the base currency. The gold standard might be regarded as a special case of "fixed exchange rate" policy, or as a special type of commodity price level targeting.
The minimal gold standard would be a long-term commitment to tighten monetary policy enough to prevent the price of gold from permanently rising above parity. A full gold standard would be a commitment to sell unlimited amounts of gold at parity and maintain a reserve of gold sufficient to redeem the entire monetary base.
Today this type of monetary policy is no longer used by any country, although the gold standard was widely used across the world between the mid-19th century through 1971.[19] Its major advantages were simplicity and transparency. The gold standard was abandoned during the Great Depression, as countries sought to reinvigorate their economies by increasing their money supply.[20] The Bretton Woods system, which was a modified gold standard, replaced it in the aftermath of World War II. However, this system too broke down during the Nixon shock of 1971.
The gold standard induces deflation, as the economy usually grows faster than the supply of gold. When an economy grows faster than its money supply, the same amount of money is used to execute a larger number of transactions. The only way to make this possible is to lower the nominal cost of each transaction, which means that prices of goods and services fall, and each unit of money increases in value. Absent precautionary measures, deflation would tend to increase the ratio of the real value of nominal debts to physical assets over time. For example, during deflation, nominal debt and the monthly nominal cost of a fixed-rate home mortgage stays the same, even while the dollar value of the house falls, and the value of the dollars required to pay the mortgage goes up. Mainstream economics considers such deflation to be a major disadvantage of the gold standard. Unsustainable (i.e. excessive) deflation can cause problems during recessions andfinancial crisis lengthening the amount of time an economy spends in recession. William Jennings Bryan rose to national prominence when he built his historic (though unsuccessful) 1896 presidential campaign around the argument that deflation caused by the gold standard made it harder for everyday citizens to start new businesses, expand their farms, or build new homes.
Policy of various nations
 Bangladesh - Inflation targeting
 Australia – Inflation targeting
 Brazil – Inflation targeting
 Canada – Inflation targeting
 Chile – Inflation targeting
 China – Monetary targeting and targets a currency basket
 Czech Republic – Inflation targeting
 Colombia – Inflation targeting
 Hong Kong – Currency board (fixed to US dollar)
 India – Multiple indicator approach
 New Zealand – Inflation targeting
 Norway – Inflation targeting
 Singapore – Exchange rate targeting
 South Africa – Inflation targeting
 Sri Lanka – Monetary targeting
 Switzerland – Inflation targeting [21]
 Turkey – Inflation targeting
 United Kingdom[22] – Inflation targeting, alongside secondary targets on 'output and employment'.
 United States[23] – Mixed policy dedicated to maximum employment and stable prices (and since the 1980s it is well described by the "Taylor rule," which maintains that the Fed funds rate responds to shocks in inflation and output)
Further information: Monetary policy of the USA
Monetary policy tools
Monetary base
Monetary policy can be implemented by changing the size of the monetary base. Central banks use open market operations to change the monetary base. The central bank buys or sells reserve assets (usually financial instruments such as bonds) in exchange for money on deposit at the central bank. Those deposits are convertible to currency. Together such currency and deposits constitute the monetary base which is the general liabilities of the central bank in its own monetary unit. Usually other banks can use base money as a fractional reserve and expand the circulating money supply by a larger amount.
Reserve requirements
The monetary authority exerts regulatory control over banks. Monetary policy can be implemented by changing the proportion of total assets that banks must hold in reserve with the central bank. Banks only maintain a small portion of their assets as cash available for immediate withdrawal; the rest is invested in illiquid assets like mortgages and loans. By changing the proportion of total assets to be held as liquid cash, the Federal Reserve changes the availability of loanable funds. This acts as a change in the money supply. Central banks typically do not change the reserve requirements often because it creates very volatile changes in the money supply due to the lending multiplier.
Discount window lending
Discount window lending is where the commercial banks, and other depository institutions, are able to borrow reserves from the Central Bank at a discount rate. This rate is usually set below short term market rates (T-bills). This enables the institutions to vary credit conditions (i.e., the amount of money they have to loan out), thereby affecting the money supply. It is of note that the Discount Window is the only instrument which the Central Banks do not have total control over.
By affecting the money supply, it is theorized, that monetary policy can establish ranges for inflation, unemployment, interest rates, and economic growth. A stable financial environment is created in which savings and investment can occur, allowing for the growth of the economy as a whole.
Interest rates
Main article: Interest rates
The contraction of the monetary supply can be achieved indirectly by increasing the nominal interest rates. Monetary authorities in different nations have differing levels of control of economy-wide interest rates. In the United States, the Federal Reserve can set the discount rate, as well as achieve the desired Federal funds rate by open market operations. This rate has significant effect on other market interest rates, but there is no perfect relationship. In the United States open market operations are a relatively small part of the total volume in the bond market. One cannot set independent targets for both the monetary base and the interest rate because they are both modified by a single tool — open market operations; one must choose which one to control.
In other nations, the monetary authority may be able to mandate specific interest rates on loans, savings accounts or other financial assets. By raising the interest rate(s) under its control, a monetary authority can contract the money supply, because higher interest rates encourage savings and discourage borrowing. Both of these effects reduce the size of the money supply.

Currency board
Main article: currency board
A currency board is a monetary arrangement that pegs the monetary base of one country to another, the anchor nation. As such, it essentially operates as a hard fixed exchange rate, whereby local currency in circulation is backed by foreign currency from the anchor nation at a fixed rate. Thus, to grow the local monetary base an equivalent amount of foreign currency must be held in reserves with the currency board. This limits the possibility for the local monetary authority to inflate or pursue other objectives. The principal rationales behind a currency board are threefold:
1. To import monetary credibility of the anchor nation;
2. To maintain a fixed exchange rate with the anchor nation;
3. To establish credibility with the exchange rate (the currency board arrangement is the hardest form of fixed exchange rates outside of dollarization).
In theory, it is possible that a country may peg the local currency to more than one foreign currency; although, in practice this has never happened (and it would be a more complicated to run than a simple single-currency currency board). A gold standard is a special case of a currency board where the value of the national currency is linked to the value of gold instead of a foreign currency.
The currency board in question will no longer issue fiat money but instead will only issue a set number of units of local currency for each unit of foreign currency it has in its vault. The surplus on the balance of payments of that country is reflected by higher deposits local banks hold at the central bank as well as (initially) higher deposits of the (net) exporting firms at their local banks. The growth of the domestic money supply can now be coupled to the additional deposits of the banks at the central bank that equals additional hard foreign exchange reserves in the hands of the central bank. The virtue of this system is that questions of currency stability no longer apply. The drawbacks are that the country no longer has the ability to set monetary policy according to other domestic considerations, and that the fixed exchange rate will, to a large extent, also fix a country's terms of trade, irrespective of economic differences between it and its trading partners.
Hong Kong operates a currency board, as does Bulgaria. Estonia established a currency board pegged to the Deutschmark in 1992 after gaining independence, and this policy is seen as a mainstay of that country's subsequent economic success (see Economy of Estonia for a detailed description of the Estonian currency board). Argentina abandoned its currency board in January 2002 after a severe recession. This emphasized the fact that currency boards are not irrevocable, and hence may be abandoned in the face of speculation by foreign exchange traders. Following the signing of the Dayton Peace Agreement in 1995, Bosnia and Herzegovina established a currency board pegged to the Deutschmark (since 2002 replaced by the Euro).
Currency boards have advantages for small, open economies that would find independent monetary policy difficult to sustain. They can also form a credible commitment to low inflation.
Unconventional monetary policy at the zero bound
Other forms of monetary policy, particularly used when interest rates are at or near 0% and there are concerns about deflation or deflation is occurring, are referred to as unconventional monetary policy. These include credit easing, quantitative easing, and signaling. In credit easing, a central bank purchases private sector assets, in order to improve liquidity and improve access to credit. Signaling can be used to lower market expectations for future interest rates. For example, during the credit crisis of 2008, the US Federal Reserve indicated rates would be low for an “extended period”, and the Bank of Canada made a “conditional commitment” to keep rates at the lower bound of 25 basis points (0.25%) until the end of the second quarter of 2010.
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