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A Tale of Two Effects

  • Paul Evans

    (Ohio State University)

  • Xiaojun Wang

    (University of Hawaii)

This paper investigates the relationship between nominal interest rates and prices using nearly two centuries of data from ten industrial countries. Both a positive relationship between interest rates and price levels (that is, a positive Gibson effect) and a negative relationship between interest rates and subsequent price changes (that is, a negative Fama-Fisher effect) prevailed until World War I. We propose a simple explanation wherein this doubly paradoxical juxtaposition of effects arises when money is supplied inelastically and prices are flexible. This double paradox disappeared after World War II when economies became mostly characterized by elastic money and sticky prices. During that period, a positive Fama-Fisher effect emerged while the Gibson effect largely dissipated. Copyright by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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File URL: http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1162/rest.90.1.147
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Article provided by MIT Press in its journal The Review of Economics and Statistics.

Volume (Year): 90 (2008)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 147-157

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:90:y:2008:i:1:p:147-157
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  1. Barsky, Robert B., 1987. "The Fisher hypothesis and the forecastability and persistence of inflation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 3-24, January.
  2. Clarida, Richard & Gali, Jordi & Gertler, Mark, 1998. "Monetary policy rules in practice Some international evidence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(6), pages 1033-1067, June.
  3. Klovland Jan Tore, 1993. "Zooming in on Sauerbeck: Monthly Wholesale Prices in Britain 1845-1890," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 195-228, April.
  4. Barsky, Robert B & Summers, Lawrence H, 1988. "Gibson's Paradox and the Gold Standard," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(3), pages 528-50, June.
  5. Thomas J. Sargent, 1971. "Interest rates and prices in the long run: a study of the Gibson paradox," Working Papers 75, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  6. Dwyer, Gerald P, Jr, 1984. "The Gibson Paradox: A Cross-Country Analysis," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 51(202), pages 109-27, May.
  7. Roll, Richard, 1972. "Interest Rates on Monetary Assets and Commodity Price Index Changes," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 27(2), pages 251-77, May.
  8. Hafer, R W & Jansen, Dennis W, 1991. "The Demand for Money in the United States: Evidence from Cointegration Tests," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 23(2), pages 155-68, May.
  9. Wicksell, Knut, 1907. "The Influence of the Rate of Interest on Prices," History of Economic Thought Articles, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, vol. 17, pages 213-220.
  10. Robert B. Barsky & J. Bradford De Long, . "Forecasting Pre-World War I Inflation: The Fisher Effect and the Gold Standard," J. Bradford De Long's Working Papers _121, University of California at Berkeley, Economics Department.
  11. Fama, Eugene F, 1975. "Short-Term Interest Rates as Predictors of Inflation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 65(3), pages 269-82, June.
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