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Can the Fed Control Real Interest Rates?

In: Rational Expectations and Economic Policy

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  • Robert J. Shiller

Abstract

Three hypotheses concerning the controllability of rationally expected real interest rates are examined here. These hypotheses, which are suggested by recent literature, assert in different senses that the stochastic properties of expected real interest rates are independent of the Fed policy rule. We discuss the meaning and implications of the hypotheses, and how they might be tested. Evaluation of the hypotheses is attempted by examination of the Fed's "quasi-controlled experiments," historical changes in policy regimes, Granger-Sims causality tests, Barro unanticipated money regressions, and other methods. Questions as to the relevance of any such methods are discussed.

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This chapter was published in:

  • Stanley Fischer, 1980. "Rational Expectations and Economic Policy," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number fisc80-1, October.
    This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 6262.

    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:6262

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    1. Joines, Douglas, 1977. "Short-Term Interest Rates as Predictors of Inflation: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(3), pages 476-77, June.
    2. Thomas Sargent, 1971. "Expectations at the Short End of the Yield Curve: An Application of Macaulay's Test," NBER Chapters, in: Essays on Interest Rates, Vol. 2, pages 391-412 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. William Poole, 2001. "Expectations," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Mar, pages 1-10.
    4. Nelson, Charles R & Schwert, G William, 1977. "Short-Term Interest Rates as Predictors of Inflation: On Testing the Hypothesis That the Real Rate of Interest is Constant," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(3), pages 478-86, June.
    5. Thomas J. Sargent, 1975. "The observational equivalence of natural and unnatural rate theories of macroeconomics," Working Papers 48, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    6. William Poole, 1976. "Rational Expectations in the Macro Model," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 7(2), pages 463-514.
    7. Phelps, Edmund S & Taylor, John B, 1977. "Stabilizing Powers of Monetary Policy under Rational Expectations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(1), pages 163-90, February.
    8. Fama, Eugene F, 1975. "Short-Term Interest Rates as Predictors of Inflation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 65(3), pages 269-82, June.
    9. Shiller, Robert J & Siegel, Jeremy J, 1977. "The Gibson Paradox and Historical Movements in Real Interest Rates," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(5), pages 891-907, October.
    10. Sargent, Thomas J & Wallace, Neil, 1975. ""Rational" Expectations, the Optimal Monetary Instrument, and the Optimal Money Supply Rule," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(2), pages 241-54, April.
    11. Carlson, John A, 1977. "Short-Term Interest Rates as Predictors of Inflation: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(3), pages 469-75, June.
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    Cited by:
    1. Robert B. Litterman & Laurence M. Weiss, 1984. "Money, real interest rates, and output: a reinterpretation of postwar U.S. data," Staff Report 89, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    2. Behzad T. Diba & Seonghwan Oh, 1988. "Have Money-Stock Fluctuations Had a Liquidity Effect on Expected Real Interest Rates," UCLA Economics Working Papers 534, UCLA Department of Economics.
    3. Mankiw, N Gregory & Miron, Jeffrey A & Weil, David N, 1987. "The Adjustment of Expectations to a Change in Regime: A Study of the Founding of the Federal Reserve," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(3), pages 358-74, June.
    4. Pilegaard, Rasmus & Durré, Alain & Evjen, Snorre, 2003. "Estimating risk premia in money market rates," Working Paper Series 0221, European Central Bank.
    5. Karen K. Lewis & Martin D. Evans, 1992. "Do Expected Shifts in Inflation Policy Affect Real Rates?," NBER Working Papers 4134, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Paraskevopoulos, Christos C. & Paschakis, John & Smithin, John, 1996. "Is monetary sovereignty an option for the small open economy?," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 5-18.
    7. N. Gregory Mankiw & Jeffrey A. Miron, 1991. "Should The Fed Smooth Interest Rates? The Case of Seasonal Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 3388, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Robert B. Barsky & N. Gregory Mankiw & Jeffrey A. Miron & David N. Weil, 1989. "The Worldwide Change in the Behavior of Interest Rates and Prices in 1914," NBER Working Papers 2344, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Martin Feldstein, 1983. "The Fiscal Framework of Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 0966, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Paschakis, John & Smithin, John, 1998. "Exchange Risk and the Supply-Side Effects of Real Interest Rate Changes," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 703-720, October.

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