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The zero-lower bound on interest rates: Myth or reality?

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  • Jarrow, Robert A.

Abstract

Unconventional monetary policy tools are based on the belief that there exists a zero-lower bound on interest rates. This paper argues, based on economic theory and the empirical evidence, that this belief is a myth and not a reality. It is shown that a negative default-free spot rate of interest is consistent with an arbitrage-free term structure evolution in a competitive and nearly frictionless market. It is not frictionless to the extent that consumers, firms, non-bank financial institutions, and banks have some realistic constraints imposed on their trading activities.

Suggested Citation

  • Jarrow, Robert A., 2013. "The zero-lower bound on interest rates: Myth or reality?," Finance Research Letters, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 151-156.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:finlet:v:10:y:2013:i:4:p:151-156
    DOI: 10.1016/j.frl.2013.08.003
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Michele Lenza & Huw Pill & Lucrezia Reichlin, 2010. "Monetary policy in exceptional times," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 25, pages 295-339, April.
    2. Ben S. Bernanke & Vincent R. Reinhart & Brian P. Sack, 2004. "Monetary Policy Alternatives at the Zero Bound: An Empirical Assessment," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 35(2), pages 1-100.
    3. Bernanke, Ben S., 2012. "Monetary Policy since the Onset of the Crisis : a speech at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City Economic Symposium, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, August 31, 2012," Speech 645, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    4. Black, Fischer, 1995. " Interest Rates as Options," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 50(5), pages 1371-1376, December.
    5. Joyce, Michael & Lasaosa, Ana & Stevens , Ibrahim & Tong, Matthew, 2010. "The financial market impact of quantitative easing," Bank of England working papers 393, Bank of England.
    6. Canlin Li & Min Wei, 2012. "Term structure modelling with supply factors and the Federal Reserve's Large Scale Asset Purchase programs," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2012-37, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    7. Robert Jarrow, 2010. "Convenience yields," Review of Derivatives Research, Springer, vol. 13(1), pages 25-43, April.
    8. Robert A. Jarrow, 2009. "The Term Structure of Interest Rates," Annual Review of Financial Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 69-96, November.
    9. James D. Hamilton & Jing Cynthia Wu, 2012. "The Effectiveness of Alternative Monetary Policy Tools in a Zero Lower Bound Environment," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 44, pages 3-46, February.
    10. David Heath & Robert Jarrow & Andrew Morton, 2008. "Bond Pricing And The Term Structure Of Interest Rates: A New Methodology For Contingent Claims Valuation," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: Financial Derivatives Pricing Selected Works of Robert Jarrow, chapter 13, pages 277-305 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
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    Cited by:

    1. Leo Krippner, 2013. "Efficient Jacobian evaluations for estimating zero lower bound term structure models," CAMA Working Papers 2013-77, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
    2. repec:eee:finlet:v:21:y:2017:i:c:p:100-106 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Zero-lower bound on interest rates; Monetary policy; Quantitative easing; Term structure of interest rate models; The HJM model; Convenience yields;

    JEL classification:

    • E43 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Interest Rates: Determination, Term Structure, and Effects
    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages

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