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Monetary policy and U.S. long-term interest rates: How close are the linkages?

  • Berument, Hakan
  • Froyen, Richard

The effect of monetary policy on long-term interest rates has been a question of interest in recent years. A number of papers, relying on single-equation estimation techniques, have presented evidence that long-term interest rates exhibit sizable and significant responses to unanticipated changes in the Federal Reserve's target federal funds rate. This paper examines these findings in light of conflicting findings from VAR studies, which indicate negligible effects of innovations in the federal funds rate on long-term rates. To address the issue we use a single-equation approach where unanticipated changes in the federal funds rate are measured as residuals from policy reaction functions. We also estimate VAR specifications, which incorporate information about the timing of changes in the Federal Reserve's target federal funds rate. Our single-equation estimates provide evidence of strong responses of long rates to unanticipated changes in the federal funds rate both for the Greenspan period and for a longer period back to the mid-1960s. It seems likely that estimated VARs for the post-1987 years are less successful in isolating monetary policy surprises than was the case for earlier years.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economics and Business.

Volume (Year): 61 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 34-50

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jebusi:v:61:y:2009:i:1:p:34-50
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jeconbus

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  2. Lange, Joe & Sack, Brian & Whitesell, William, 2003. " Anticipations of Monetary Policy in Financial Markets," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 35(6), pages 889-909, December.
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  4. Refet Gurkaynak & Brian Sack & Eric Swanson, 2005. "Do Actions Speak Louder than Words? The Response of Asset Prices to Monetary Policy Actions and Statements," Macroeconomics 0504013, EconWPA.
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  8. Cook, Timothy & Hahn, Thomas, 1989. "The effect of changes in the federal funds rate target on market interest rates in the 1970s," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 331-351, November.
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  13. Kuttner, Kenneth N., 2001. "Monetary policy surprises and interest rates: Evidence from the Fed funds futures market," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 523-544, June.
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  15. Refet S. Gürkaynak & Andrew T. Levin & Andrew N. Marder & Eric T. Swanson, 2006. "Inflation Targeting and the Anchoring of Inflation Expectations in The Western Hemisphere," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 400, Central Bank of Chile.
  16. Refet S Gürkaynak & Andrew Levin & Eric Swanson, 2010. "Does Inflation Targeting Anchor Long-Run Inflation Expectations? Evidence from the U.S., UK, and Sweden," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 8(6), pages 1208-1242, December.
  17. David H. Romer & Christina D. Romer, 2000. "Federal Reserve Information and the Behavior of Interest Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 429-457, June.
  18. Refet S. Gürkaynak & Brian Sack & Eric Swanson, 2005. "The Sensitivity of Long-Term Interest Rates to Economic News: Evidence and Implications for Macroeconomic Models," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 425-436, March.
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  21. Andrew J Swiston, 2007. "Where Have the Monetary Surprises Gone? The Effects of FOMC Statements," IMF Working Papers 07/185, International Monetary Fund.
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