Quantitative Easing and Equity Prices

Evidence from the ETF Program of the Bank of Japan

Published in the Review of Asset Pricing Studies

Since the introduction of its Quantitative and Qualitative Easing program in 2013, the Bank of Japan has been increasing its holdings of Japanese equity through large scale purchases of index-linked ETFs with the intention of lowering assets' risk premia. We exploit the cross-sectional heterogeneity of the shock to supply induced by the policy to identify a positive, sizeable and persistent impact on stock prices consistent with a portfolio balance channel. The evidence suggests that demand curves for stocks are downward sloping in the long-run. We estimate an increase of 22 basis points in aggregate market valuation per trillion Yen invested into the program, corresponding to a price elasticity of 1. We show that the purchases of ETFs tracking the price-weighted Nikkei 225 index generate significant pricing distortions relative to a value-weighted benchmark. Finally, we provide a rigorous framework to discuss the consequences of a potential exit strategy from QE.

Last Revision: 2019-10-01

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