We study empirically the distributional implications of a non-standard monetary policy expansion, considering the measures implemented by the Eurosystem in 2011-2012 and exploiting a rich micro dataset on Italian households’ income and wealth, in order to take contemporaneously into account a number of income- and wealth-related channels.
Our results do not support the claim that an unconventional monetary loosening acts as a “reverse Robin Hood”. Larger benefits accrue to households at the bottom of the income scale, as the effects via the stimulus to economic activity and employment outweigh those via financial variables.
The response of net wealth is U-shaped: less wealthy households take advantage of their leveraged positions, wealthier households of their larger share of financial assets. Overall, the effects on inequality are negligible.
The results also suggest that the risk of an “expropriation of savers” is not likely to materialize, as the decrease in the remuneration of savings is compensated by support to labour income and by capital gains.
Published in 2018 in: Journal of International Money and Finance, v. 85, pp. 215-235