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Neutral real interest rates revisited

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  • Nils Björksten
  • Özer Karagedikli

    (Reserve Bank of New Zealand)

Abstract

Monetary policy decision-making commonly involves setting interest rates to stimulate the economy and prevent deflationary forces gathering momentum, or to constrain the economy and prevent inflationary forces gathering momentum. In setting interest rates, therefore, one needs to know what level of interest rates will stimulate and what level will constrain economic activity. Whereabouts is the dividing line? This is the question that we address in this article. It turns out that it is very difficult to come up with a precise answer, as a range of different analytical approaches provides a range of answers. In the process of trying to identify the "neutral" interest rate that is the dividing line between stimulatory and contractionary, we discuss its evolution through time. We also note that, after allowance for inflation, and for a decline in the inflation-adjusted neutral interest rate, the neutral interest rate in New Zealand remains high relative to comparable countries. Although possible reasons for the decline and for the relatively high level in New Zealand are ventured, they are not the prime focus of this article.

Suggested Citation

  • Nils Björksten & Özer Karagedikli, 2003. "Neutral real interest rates revisited," Reserve Bank of New Zealand Bulletin, Reserve Bank of New Zealand, vol. 66, pages 1-11, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:nzb:nzbbul:september2003:2
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    File URL: http://www.rbnz.govt.nz/-/media/ReserveBank/Files/Publications/Bulletins/2003/2003sep66-3bjorkstenkaragedikli.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Hodrick, Robert J & Prescott, Edward C, 1997. "Postwar U.S. Business Cycles: An Empirical Investigation," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 29(1), pages 1-16, February.
    2. Giammarioli, Nicola & Valla, Natacha, 2003. "The natural real rate of interest in the euro area," Working Paper Series 233, European Central Bank.
    3. Athanasios Orphanides & John C. Williams, 2002. "Robust Monetary Policy Rules with Unknown Natural Rates," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 33(2), pages 63-146.
    4. Neiss, Katharine S. & Nelson, Edward, 2003. "The Real-Interest-Rate Gap As An Inflation Indicator," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 7(02), pages 239-262, April.
    5. Thomas Laubach & John C. Williams, 2003. "Measuring the Natural Rate of Interest," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(4), pages 1063-1070, November.
    6. Olivier Basdevant & David Hargreaves, 2003. "Modelling structural change: the case of New Zealand," Reserve Bank of New Zealand Discussion Paper Series DP2003/03, Reserve Bank of New Zealand.
    7. Joanne Archibald & Leni Hunter, 2001. "What is the neutral real interest rate, and how can we use it?," Reserve Bank of New Zealand Bulletin, Reserve Bank of New Zealand, vol. 64, September.
    8. Olivier Basdevant, 2003. "On applications of state-space modelling in macroeconomics," Reserve Bank of New Zealand Discussion Paper Series DP2003/02, Reserve Bank of New Zealand.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ilyas Siklar & Umit Yildiz & Sinan Cakan, 2016. "The Time - Varying Natural Rate of Interest and Its Fundamental Determinants: Time Series Evidence from Turkey," Business and Economic Research, Macrothink Institute, vol. 6(2), pages 390-400, December.
    2. Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel & Carl E. Walsh, 2009. "Monetary Policy and Key Unobservables: Evidence from Large Industrial and Selected Inflation-Targeting Countries," Central Banking, Analysis, and Economic Policies Book Series,in: Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel & Carl E. Walsh & Norman Loayza (Series Editor) & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel (Series (ed.), Monetary Policy under Uncertainty and Learning, edition 1, volume 13, chapter 9, pages 285-370 Central Bank of Chile.
    3. Fethi Oğunc & Inci Batmaz, 2009. "Estimating the neutral real interest rate in an emerging market economy," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(6), pages 683-693.
    4. Cour-Thimann, Philippine & Pilegaard, Rasmus & Stracca, Livio, 2006. "The output gap and the real interest rate gap in the euro area, 1960-2003," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 28(7), pages 775-790, October.
    5. Ernest Gnan & Doris Ritzberger-Grünwald, 2005. "The Natural Rate of Interest — Concepts and Appraisal for the Euro Area," Monetary Policy & the Economy, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank), issue 4, pages 19-47.
    6. Jesús Cuaresma & Ernest Gnan, 2007. "The natural rate of interest: which concept? which estimation method? which policy conclusions?," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(4), pages 667-688.

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