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Credit and the Natural Rate of Interest

  • FIORELLA DE FIORE
  • ORESTE TRISTANI

We analyze the properties of the natural rate of interest in an economy where nominal debt contracts generate a spread between loan rates and the policy interest rate. In our model, monetary policy has real effects in the flexible-price equilibrium, because it affects the credit spread. Relying on a definition suitable for this environment, we demonstrate that: (i) the natural rate is independent of monetary policy and (ii) it delivers price stability, if used as the intercept of a monetary policy rule. The second result holds exactly if real balances are remunerated at a constant spread below policy interest rates, approximately otherwise. We also highlight, however, that the natural rate is not robust to model un-certainty. The natural rate reacts differently to aggregate shocks - not only quantitatively but also qualitatively - depending on the underlying model assumptions (e.g. whether or not financial markets are frictionless). JEL Classification: E40, E50, G10

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Article provided by Blackwell Publishing in its journal Journal of Money, Credit and Banking.

Volume (Year): 43 (2011)
Issue (Month): (03)
Pages: 407-440

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Handle: RePEc:mcb:jmoncb:v:43:y:2011:i::p:407-440
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/journal.asp?ref=0022-2879

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  1. Gale, Douglas & Hellwig, Martin, 1985. "Incentive-Compatible Debt Contracts: The One-Period Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(4), pages 647-63, October.
  2. Timothy S. Fuerst & Charles T. Carlstrom, 1998. "Agency costs and business cycles," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 12(3), pages 583-597.
  3. Bernanke, B. & Gertler, M. & Gilchrist, S., 1998. "The Financial Accelerator in a Quantitative Business Cycle Framework," Working Papers 98-03, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  4. Marvin J. Barth III & Valerie A. Ramey, 2000. "The Cost Channel of Monetary Transmission," NBER Working Papers 7675, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Charles T. Carlstrom & Timothy S. Fuerst, 1996. "Agency costs, net worth, and business fluctuations: a computable general equilibrium analysis," Working Paper 9602, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  6. Andrew T. Levin & Fabio M. Natalucci & Egon Zakrajsek, 2004. "The magnitude and cyclical behavior of financial market frictions," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2004-70, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  7. Queijo, Virginia, 2005. "How Important are Financial Frictions in the U.S. and Euro Area?," Seminar Papers 738, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  8. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Charles L. Evans, 2005. "Nominal Rigidities and the Dynamic Effects of a Shock to Monetary Policy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(1), pages 1-45, February.
  9. Ravenna, Federico & Walsh, Carl E., 2006. "Optimal monetary policy with the cost channel," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 199-216, March.
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