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The Decline in the Natural Rate of Interest


  • John C Williams


With the Federal Reserve widely expected to begin normalization of monetary policy in the wake of the Great Recession—perhaps in 2015—an important question for public policy and private-sector planning is what the “new normal” for interest rates is likely to be. In particular, are real interest rates likely to be lower in the future than in recent decades? An investigation through the use of the Kalman filter shows that the natural rate of interest—the real federal funds rate consistent with the economy operating at its full potential—has declined since 1980, especially after the Great Recession. This will have important implications for monetary policy and for the private sector, including recognition that the natural rate of interest is not fixed.

Suggested Citation

  • John C Williams, 2015. "The Decline in the Natural Rate of Interest," Business Economics, Palgrave Macmillan;National Association for Business Economics, vol. 50(2), pages 57-60, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:buseco:v:50:y:2015:i:2:p:57-60

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    Cited by:

    1. John C. Williams, 2015. "Monetary policy and the independence dilemma," FRBSF Economic Letter, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
    2. Vasco Curdia, 2015. "Why so slow? A gradual return for interest rates," FRBSF Economic Letter, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
    3. Beyer, Robert C.M. & Wieland, Volker, 2019. "Instability, imprecision and inconsistent use of equilibrium real interest rate estimates," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 1-14.
    4. Harendra Behera & Sitikantha Pattanaik & Rajesh Kavediya, 2015. "Natural Interest Rate: Assessing the Stance of India’s Monetary Policy under Uncertainty," Working Papers id:7654, eSocialSciences.
    5. Thomas Laubach & John C. Williams, 2015. "Measuring the natural rate of interest redux," Working Paper Series 2015-16, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
    6. Mariarosaria Comunale & Jonas Striaukas, 2017. "Unconventional Monetary Policy: Interest Rates and Low Inflation. A Review of Literature and Methods," Bank of Lithuania Occasional Paper Series 13, Bank of Lithuania.
    7. Nikolsko-Rzhevskyy, Alex & Papell, David H. & Prodan, Ruxandra, 2019. "The Taylor principles," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 62(C).
    8. Nikolsko-Rzhevskyy, Alex & Papell, David H. & Prodan, Ruxandra, 2017. "The Yellen rules," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 54(PA), pages 59-71.
    9. Holston, Kathryn & Laubach, Thomas & Williams, John C., 2017. "Measuring the natural rate of interest: International trends and determinants," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(S1), pages 59-75.
    10. Andrea Pescatori & Jarkko Turunen, 2015. "Lower for Longer; Neutral Rates in the United States," IMF Working Papers 2015/135, International Monetary Fund.
    11. Michael Buchner, 2020. "Fiscal Policy in an Age of Secular Stagnation," Comparative Economic Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Association for Comparative Economic Studies, vol. 62(3), pages 398-429, September.
    12. Marius ACATRINEI & Dan ARMEANU & Carmen Elena DOBROTA, 2018. "Natural Interest Rate for the Romanian Economy," Journal for Economic Forecasting, Institute for Economic Forecasting, vol. 0(3), pages 104-116, September.
    13. Dmitry Kreptsev & Alexey Porshakov & Sergey Seleznev & Andrey Sinyakov, 2016. "The equilibrium interest rate: a measurement for Russia," Bank of Russia Working Paper Series wps13, Bank of Russia.
    14. Javier G. Gómez-Pineda, 2018. "A well-timed raise in inflation targets," Borradores de Economia 1042, Banco de la Republica de Colombia.
    15. Lee, Dong Jin & Hahm, Joon-Ho & Park, Hail & Park, Ki Young, 2020. "Measuring the Natural Rate of Interest with Financial Gaps: The Cases of Japan and South Korea," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 54(C).
    16. Andrea Pescatori & Jarkko Turunen, 2016. "Lower for Longer: Neutral Rate in the U.S," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 64(4), pages 708-731, November.

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