In total, the Fed spent more than $4tn in its various rounds of bond buying. Most academics agree that the first round of printing money was a success – it was big enough, and lasted long enough, that it almost certainly prevented a more dire economic situation.
The jury is still out on the subsequent rounds of bond buying. One study found that QE2 was only a third as effective as the first round of QE.
Another paper, published by the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank, found that QE2 added just 0.13 percentage points to the annual rate of economic growth in 2010, which was at 2.8% when the programme was implemented.
The authors of that paper argued that it was the Fed setting expectations about when rates would rise that gave people the confidence to invest, not printing money.
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