What is helicopter money?

What is helicopter money? - Definition & Explanation


Helicopter money" refers to a large amount of money that is additionally printed by the central bank and made available to the population without the latter having to make any kind of payment in return. The background to this monetary policy is usually the desire to vitalise the economy in a recessionary phase by increasing purchasing power. Through increased consumption, these should now strengthen the companies, which can thus generate more jobs and indirectly also more tax revenues. In addition, the distribution of helicopter money is intended to counteract deflation. The term comes from the fact that the money is dropped on consumers like aid from a helicopter.

How does helicopter money work?

Helicopter money is not taken from any pots or budgets and, in contrast to the model of so-called quantitative easing, it does not increase any key figure in the central bank's balance sheet. It is money that is additionally injected into the monetary cycle through money creation and does not have to be booked as debt and repaid. According to the theory, all the money is to be spent promptly so that not only each individual recipient but also the real economy as a whole benefits from this distribution. Since the amount of money in circulation correlates with prices, the increase in the money supply automatically leads to an increase in the inflation rate, which is a desired effect in times of recession and deflation.

Who gets the helicopter money?

There are some models in theory that envisage the state being the first beneficiary of this money. For example, a central bank such as the European Central Bank (ECB) could transfer helicopter money to a member state, which would use this financial injection to fund large projects. This would also put a lot of fresh money into Exness forex market. Most models, however, provide for the money to benefit the citizens in a more direct way. This can be done by transferring money to each account holder or by lowering taxes or health insurance contributions.

Examples of helicopter money

online broker

Around 2015, Japan was in a period of years of deflation. Other mechanisms that Japan's central bank had used to cope with the situation fizzled out. Even setting the interest rate in negative territory (-0.1%) did not succeed in noticeably boosting the economy. Therefore, in 2020, the Japanese government decided to help the economy with helicopter money. 100,000 yen (equivalent to about 750 euros) were transferred to every resident who could show proof of permanent residence.

In the same year, to compensate for the losses caused by Corona, the US Senate approved a helicopter package that included cheques of 1200 US dollars for all citizens of legal age.


The distribution of helicopter money is controversial among experts, as the advantages can also be contrasted with undeniable disadvantages. Sometimes, however, a situation can arise in which all other conceivable options for stimulating the economy have already been used without economic growth having been decisively strengthened. If many bond purchases have already been made and the key interest rate has been lowered several times without getting a grip on deflation, helicopter money can be a last resort to revive the economy after all.