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Can the Fed Control Real Interest Rates?

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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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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w0348.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 0348.

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Date of creation: May 1979
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Publication status: published as Shiller, Robert J. "Can the Fed Control Real Interest Rates?" Rational Expectations and Economic Policy, edited by Stanley Fischer, pp. 117-168. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:0348

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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Robert J. Shiller, 1975. "Rational Expectations and the Dynamic Structure of Macroeconomic Models:A Critical Review," NBER Working Papers 0093, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Sargent, Thomas J, 1976. "The Observational Equivalence of Natural and Unnatural Rate Theories of Macroeconomics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(3), pages 631-40, June.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. William Poole, 2001. "Expectations," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Mar, pages 1-10.
  10. 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.
  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.
  12. 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.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Robert E. Cumby & Maurice Obstfeld, 1982. "International Interest-Rate and Price-Level Linkages Under Flexible Exchange Rates: A Review of Recent Evidence," NBER Working Papers 0921, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Mankiw, N. Gregory & Miron, Jeffrey A., 1991. "Should the fed smooth interest rates? the case of seasonal monetary policy," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 41-69, January.
  3. Garcia, R. & Perron, P., 1994. "An Analysis of the Real Interest rate Under Regime Shifts," Cahiers de recherche 9428, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
  4. 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.
  5. Barsky, Robert B. & Mankiw, N. Gregory & Miron, Jeffrey A. & Weill, David N., 1988. "The worldwide change in the behavior of interest rates and prices in 1914," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 1123-1147, June.
  6. Pilegaard, Rasmus & Durré, Alain & Evjen, Snorre, 2003. "Estimating risk premia in money market rates," Working Paper Series 0221, European Central Bank.
  7. Litterman, Robert B & Weiss, Laurence M, 1985. "Money, Real Interest Rates, and Output: A Reinterpretation of Postwar U.S. Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(1), pages 129-56, January.
  8. Martin D. Evans & Karen K. Lewis, 1992. "Do Expected Shifts in Inflation Policy Affect Real Rates?," Working Papers 92-22, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
  9. Behzad T. Diba & Seonghwan Oh, 1988. "Have money-stock fluctuations had a liquidity effect on expected real interest rates?," Working Papers 88-19, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Martin Feldstein, 1982. "The Fiscal Framework of Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 0966, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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