The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
Although central banks have recently taken unconventional policy actions to try to shore up macroeconomic and financial stability, little theory is available to assess the consequences of such measures. This paper offers a theoretical model with which such policies can be analyzed. In particular, the paper shows that in the absence of the fiscal authorities' full backing of the central bank's balance sheet, strange things can happen. For instance, an exit from quantitative easing could be inflationary and central banks cannot successfully unwind inflated balance sheets. Therefore, the fiscal authorities' full backing of the monetary authorities' quasi-fiscal operations is a pre-condition for effective monetary policy.