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Can the Fed Control Real Interest Rates?

In: Rational Expectations and Economic Policy

  • Robert J. Shiller

Three hypotheses concerning the controllability of rationally expected real interest rates are examined here. These hypotheses, which are suggested by recent literature, assert in different senses that the stochastic properties of expected real interest rates are independent of the Fed policy rule. We discuss the meaning and implications of the hypotheses, and how they might be tested. Evaluation of the hypotheses is attempted by examination of the Fed's "quasi-controlled experiments," historical changes in policy regimes, Granger-Sims causality tests, Barro unanticipated money regressions, and other methods. Questions as to the relevance of any such methods are discussed.

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This chapter was published in:
  • Stanley Fischer, 1980. "Rational Expectations and Economic Policy," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number fisc80-1, September.
  • This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 6262.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:6262
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    1. Carlson, John A, 1977. "Short-Term Interest Rates as Predictors of Inflation: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(3), pages 469-75, June.
    2. 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.
    3. Ricardo, David, 1821. "On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, edition 3, number ricardo1821.
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    5. Shiller, Robert J., 1978. "Rational expectations and the dynamic structure of macroeconomic models : A critical review," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 1-44, January.
    6. Thomas J. Sargent, 1975. "The observational equivalence of natural and unnatural rate theories of macroeconomics," Working Papers 48, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    7. William Poole, 1976. "Rational Expectations in the Macro Model," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 7(2), pages 463-514.
    8. Sargent, Thomas J & Wallace, Neil, 1975. ""Rational" Expectations, the Optimal Monetary Instrument, and the Optimal Money Supply Rule," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(2), pages 241-54, April.
    9. Phelps, Edmund S & Taylor, John B, 1977. "Stabilizing Powers of Monetary Policy under Rational Expectations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(1), pages 163-90, February.
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    11. William Poole, 2001. "Expectations," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Mar, pages 1-10.
    12. Nelson, Charles R, 1976. "Inflation and Rates of Return on Common Stocks," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 31(2), pages 471-83, May.
    13. Shiller, Robert J & Siegel, Jeremy J, 1977. "The Gibson Paradox and Historical Movements in Real Interest Rates," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(5), pages 891-907, October.
    14. Martin Feldstein & Jerry Green & Eytan Sheshinski, 1983. "Inflation and Taxes in a Growing Economy with Debt and Equity Finance," NBER Chapters, in: Inflation, Tax Rules, and Capital Formation, pages 44-60 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. 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.
    16. Milton Friedman & Anna J. Schwartz, 1963. "A Monetary History of the United States, 1867–1960," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number frie63-1, September.
    17. Fischer, Stanley, 1977. "Long-Term Contracts, Rational Expectations, and the Optimal Money Supply Rule," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(1), pages 191-205, February.
    18. Thomas Sargent, 1971. "Expectations at the Short End of the Yield Curve: An Application of Macaulay's Test," NBER Chapters, in: Essays on Interest Rates, Volume 2, pages 391-412 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Joines, Douglas, 1977. "Short-Term Interest Rates as Predictors of Inflation: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(3), pages 476-77, June.
    20. Frederick R. Macaulay, 1938. "Some Theoretical Problems Suggested by the Movements of Interest Rates, Bond Yields and Stock Prices in the United States since 1856," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number maca38-1, September.
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