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Credit and the natural rate of interest


  • De Fiore, Fiorella
  • Tristani, Oreste


We analyze the properties of the natural rate of interest in an economy where nominal debt contracts generate a spread between loan rates and the policy interest rate. In our model, monetary policy has real effects in the flexible-price equilibrium, because it affects the credit spread. Relying on a definition suitable for this environment, we demonstrate that: (i) the natural rate is independent of monetary policy and (ii) it delivers price stability, if used as the intercept of a monetary policy rule. The second result holds exactly if real balances are remunerated at a constant spread below policy interest rates, approximately otherwise. We also highlight, however, that the natural rate is not robust to model un-certainty. The natural rate reacts differently to aggregate shocks - not only quantitatively but also qualitatively - depending on the underlying model assumptions (e.g. whether or not financial markets are frictionless). JEL Classification: E40, E50, G10

Suggested Citation

  • De Fiore, Fiorella & Tristani, Oreste, 2008. "Credit and the natural rate of interest," Working Paper Series 889, European Central Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:2008889

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bernanke, Ben S. & Gertler, Mark & Gilchrist, Simon, 1999. "The financial accelerator in a quantitative business cycle framework," Handbook of Macroeconomics,in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 21, pages 1341-1393 Elsevier.
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    4. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Charles L. Evans, 2005. "Nominal Rigidities and the Dynamic Effects of a Shock to Monetary Policy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(1), pages 1-45, February.
    5. (Kim | Lopez-Salido | Swanson) & Andrew Levin, 2004. "The magnitude and Cyclical Behavior of Financial Market Frictions," Computing in Economics and Finance 2004 224, Society for Computational Economics.
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    7. Queijo, Virginia, 2005. "How Important are Financial Frictions in the U.S. and Euro Area?," Seminar Papers 738, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
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    9. Ravenna, Federico & Walsh, Carl E., 2006. "Optimal monetary policy with the cost channel," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 199-216, March.
    10. Douglas Gale & Martin Hellwig, 1985. "Incentive-Compatible Debt Contracts: The One-Period Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 52(4), pages 647-663.
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    Cited by:

    1. Cúrdia, Vasco & Woodford, Michael, 2016. "Credit Frictions and Optimal Monetary Policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 30-65.
    2. Peter McAdam, 2011. "Technology, hours and factor substitution," Research Bulletin, European Central Bank, vol. 13, pages 8-12.
    3. Choi, Woon Gyu & Cook, David, 2012. "Fire sales and the financial accelerator," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(4), pages 336-351.
    4. Romain Bouis & Łukasz Rawdanowicz & Jean-Paul Renne & Shingo Watanabe & Ane Kathrine Christensen, 2013. "The Effectiveness of Monetary Policy since the Onset of the Financial Crisis," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1081, OECD Publishing.
    5. Bratsiotis, George J., 2018. "Credit Risk, Excess Reserves and Monetary Policy: The Deposits Channel," EconStor Preprints 172770, ZBW - German National Library of Economics.
    6. Feng Zhu, 2016. "A spectral perspective on natural interest rates in Asia-Pacific: changes and possible drivers," BIS Papers chapters,in: Bank for International Settlements (ed.), Expanding the boundaries of monetary policy in Asia and the Pacific, volume 88, pages 63-149 Bank for International Settlements.
    7. Fiorella De Fiore & Oreste Tristani, 2013. "Optimal Monetary Policy in a Model of the Credit Channel," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 123(571), pages 906-931, September.
    8. Olmos, Lorena & Sanso Frago, Marcos, 2014. "Natural Rate of Interest with Endogenous Growth, Financial Frictions and Trend Inflation," MPRA Paper 57212, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Martin Komrska, 2015. "Rakouská teorie hospodářského cyklu: VAR analýza pro USA v letech 1978-2013
      [The Austrian Business Cycle Theory: VAR Analysis for USA between 1978-2013]
      ," Politická ekonomie, University of Economics, Prague, vol. 2015(1), pages 57-73.
    10. Patrick McGuire, 2009. "Bank Ties and Firm Performance in Japan: Some Evidence since FY2002," IMES Discussion Paper Series 09-E-03, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan.
    11. Kobayashi, Teruyoshi, 2009. "Firm entry and monetary policy transmission under credit rationing," MPRA Paper 17553, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. Claudio Borio & Piti Disyatat, 2011. "Global imbalances and the financial crisis: Link or no link?," BIS Working Papers 346, Bank for International Settlements.
    13. Luca Dedola, 2011. "Managing exchange rate misalignment and current account imbalances," Research Bulletin, European Central Bank, vol. 13, pages 2-7.
    14. International Monetary Fund, 2011. "Republic of Korea; Selected Issues," IMF Staff Country Reports 11/247, International Monetary Fund.
    15. Bhattarai, Saroj & Lee, Jae Won & Park, Woong Yong, 2015. "Optimal monetary policy in a currency union with interest rate spreads," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(2), pages 375-397.
    16. George J. Bratsiotis, 2018. "Credit Risk, Excess Reserves and Monetary Policy: The Deposits," Centre for Growth and Business Cycle Research Discussion Paper Series 236, Economics, The Univeristy of Manchester.

    More about this item


    credit frictions; monetary policy; natural rate of interest;

    JEL classification:

    • E40 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - General
    • E50 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - General
    • G10 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)


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