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The Real-Interest-Rate Gap As An Inflation Indicator

  • Neiss, Katharine S.
  • Nelson, Edward

A long-standing area of research and policy interest has been the construction of a measure of monetary policy stance. One measure that has been proposed—as an alternative to indices that employ monetary aggregates or exchange rates—is the spread between the actual real interest rate and its flexible-price, or natural-rate, counterpart. We examine the properties of the natural real interest rate and ‘real interest rate gap’ using a dynamic stochastic general equilibrium model. Issues we investigate include: (1) the response of the gap and its components to fundamental economic shocks; and (2) the indicator and forecasting properties of the real interest rate gap for inflation, both in the model and in the data. Our results suggest that the real interest rate gap has value as an inflation indicator, supporting the ‘neo-Wicksellian framework’ advocated by Woodford (2000).

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Article provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal Macroeconomic Dynamics.

Volume (Year): 7 (2003)
Issue (Month): 02 (April)
Pages: 239-262

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Handle: RePEc:cup:macdyn:v:7:y:2003:i:02:p:239-262_02
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  2. James H. Stock & Mark W.Watson, 2003. "Forecasting Output and Inflation: The Role of Asset Prices," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(3), pages 788-829, September.
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  8. Mark Gertler & Jordi Gali & Richard Clarida, 1999. "The Science of Monetary Policy: A New Keynesian Perspective," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(4), pages 1661-1707, December.
  9. Michele Boldrin & Lawrence J. Christiano & Jonas D. M. Fisher, 2000. "Habit persistence, asset returns and the business cycle," Staff Report 280, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
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  13. Raf Wouters & Frank Smets, 2000. "Optimal Monetary Policy In An Open Economy," Computing in Economics and Finance 2000 186, Society for Computational Economics.
  14. Eika, K.H. & Ericsson, N.R. & Nymoen, R., 1996. "Hazards in Implementing a Monetary Conditions Index," Memorandum 32/1996, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
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  17. Michael Woodford, 2001. "Inflation Stabilization and Welfare," NBER Working Papers 8071, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. King, Robert G & Watson, Mark W, 1996. "Money, Prices, Interest Rates and the Business Cycle," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(1), pages 35-53, February.
  19. Thomas Laubach & Jeffery D. Amato, 2000. "Monetary policy in an estimated optimisation-based model with sticky prices and wages," BIS Working Papers 87, Bank for International Settlements.
  20. Giannoni, Marc P., 2002. "Does Model Uncertainty Justify Caution? Robust Optimal Monetary Policy In A Forward-Looking Model," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 6(01), pages 111-144, February.
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  26. Jeffrey C. Fuhrer, 2000. "Habit Formation in Consumption and Its Implications for Monetary-Policy Models," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 367-390, June.
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