Suspicious Estimates of Ex Ante Real Interest Rates: Evidence of Macroeconomic Malpractice?
The ex ante real rate of interest is an important concept in economics and finance. These disciplines treat Irving Fischer’s theory of interest as canonical; it is used universally. In the world as we know it, the Fisher theory requires positive ex ante real interest rates. Consequently, empirical estimates of the ex ante real interest rate derived from the Fisher theory of interest should also be positive. Virtually all estimates of the ex ante real interest rate published in economic journals and/or used in macroeconomic models and policy discussions for the past 35 years, however, contain negative values for extended time periods. These negative ex ante real interest rate estimates would thus seem to be theoretically flawed. Moreover, it was shown more than 30 years ago that the procedures generally used to estimate ex ante real interest rates produce biased estimates. We document this problem, explore why it exists, and assess alternative approaches for estimating the ex ante real interest rate.
|Date of creation:||Oct 2010|
|Date of revision:||Oct 2010|
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