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What anchors for the natural rate of interest?

Author

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  • Claudio Borio
  • Piti Disyatat
  • Phurichai Rungcharoenkitkul

Abstract

The paper takes a critical look at the conceptual and empirical underpinnings of prevailing explanations for low real (inflation-adjusted) interest rates over long horizons and finds them incomplete. The role of monetary policy, and its interaction with the financial cycle in particular, deserve greater attention. By linking booms and busts, the financial cycle generates important path dependencies that give rise to intertemporal policy trade-offs. Policy today constrains policy tomorrow. Far from being neutral, the policy regime can exert a persistent influence on the economy’s evolution, including on the real interest rate. This raises serious conceptual and practical questions about the use of the natural interest rate as a monetary policy guidepost. In developing the analysis, the paper also provides a specific critique of the safe asset shortage hypothesis – a hypothesis that has gained considerable popularity in recent years.

Suggested Citation

  • Claudio Borio & Piti Disyatat & Phurichai Rungcharoenkitkul, 2019. "What anchors for the natural rate of interest?," BIS Working Papers 777, Bank for International Settlements.
  • Handle: RePEc:bis:biswps:777
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Real interest rate; natural interest rate; saving; investment; inflation; monetary policy; safe asset shortage hypothesis;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E40 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - General
    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
    • E50 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - General
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy

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