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The Role of the Real Interest Rate in U.S. Macroeconomic History

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  • Weber Ernst Juerg

    ()
    (University of Western Australia)

Abstract

People who face adverse economic prospects save in order to maintain consumption. During wars and other periods of distress, the incentive to save was so strong that there would have been excess saving and a corresponding excess supply of commodities without a negative real interest rate. During the Great Depression, the interest rate mechanism failed to achieve macroeconomic equilibrium because the nominal interest rate could not fall further and deflation produced a positive real interest rate. The lesson from American economic history is that central banks should accept moderate inflation if an adverse political or economic shock causes consumer pessimism.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by De Gruyter in its journal The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics.

Volume (Year): 10 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 (April)
Pages: 1-26

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Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejmac:v:10:y:2010:i:1:n:7

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  1. Auerbach, Alan J. & Obstfeld, Maurice, 2012. "The Case for Open-Market Purchases in a Liquidity Trap," Center for International and Development Economics Research, Working Paper Series qt4tm5h0s3, Center for International and Development Economics Research, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
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Cited by:
  1. Lee C. Spector & Courtenay C. Stone, 2010. "Unlikely Estimates of the Ex Ante Real Interest Rate: Another Dismal Performance from the Dismal Science1," Working Papers 201010, Ball State University, Department of Economics, revised Jan 2011.

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