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The Real Interest Rate: A Multi-Country Empirical Study

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  • Frederic S. Mishkin

Abstract

How real interest rates behave over time is critical to our understanding of many macroeconomic issues, and much recent research has pursued this question. Very little of the research, however, has focused on real interest rates outside the United States. This paper is an empirical exploration of real interest rate movements in seven OECD countries from 1967-II to 1979-II. Further research is needed on real rates in other countries for several reasons. Not only are measures of foreign real rates of interest in their ownright, but extending an analysis of real rates to other countries also has the following additional benefits: it can generate more powerful statistical tests of propositions previously tested on U.S. data and yield information on whether results found for the U.S. hold up in other countries.This study pursues several questions that have arisen naturally from this earlier work. Is the hypothesis that the real rate is constant rejected when the analysis is extended to other countries? Does the real rate decline with increased inflation and money growth in other countries besides the United States? How reliable is the Fisher effect, in which nominal interestrates reflect changes in expected inflation? Are movements in nominal interest rates a reliable indicator of movements in real rates? What kind of variationsin real interest rates are there in different countries? Have real rates declined from the '60s to the '70s for other countries besides the U.S.?

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 1047.

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Date of creation: Dec 1982
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Publication status: published as Mishkin, Frederic S. "The Real Interest Rate: A Multi-Country Empirical Study." Canadian Journal of Economics, Vol. 17, No. 2, (May 1984), pp.283-3 11.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1047

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  1. Gibson, William E, 1972. "Interest Rates and Inflationary Expectations: New Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(5), pages 854-65, December.
  2. Fama, Eugene F, 1970. "Efficient Capital Markets: A Review of Theory and Empirical Work," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 25(2), pages 383-417, May.
  3. Pearce, Douglas K, 1979. "Comparing Survey and Rational Measures of Expected Inflation: Forecast Performance and Interest Rate Effects," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 11(4), pages 447-56, November.
  4. Hess, Patrick J. & Bicksler, James L., 1975. "Capital asset prices versus time series models as predictors of inflation: The expected real rate of interest and market efficiency," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(4), pages 341-360, December.
  5. 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.
  6. Lahiri, Kajal, 1976. "Inflationary Expectations: Their Formation and Interest Rate Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(1), pages 124-31, March.
  7. Cumby, Robert E & Obstfeld, Maurice, 1981. "A Note on Exchange-Rate Expectations and Nominal Interest Differentials: A Test of the Fisher Hypothesis," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 36(3), pages 697-703, June.
  8. Hansen, Lars Peter & Hodrick, Robert J, 1980. "Forward Exchange Rates as Optimal Predictors of Future Spot Rates: An Econometric Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(5), pages 829-53, October.
  9. Garbade, Kenneth & Wachtel, Paul, 1978. "Time variation in the relationship between inflation and interest rates," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(4), pages 755-765, November.
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