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Great moderations and U.S. interest rates: unconditional evidence

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  • James M. Nason
  • Gregor W. Smith

Abstract

The Great Moderation refers to the fall in U.S. output growth volatility in the mid-1980s. At the same time, the United States experienced a moderation in inflation and lower average inflation. Using annual data since 1890, we find that an earlier, 1946 moderation in output and consumption growth was comparable to that of 1984. Using quarterly data since 1947, we also isolate the 1969–83 Great Inflation to refine the asset pricing implications of the moderations. Asset pricing theory predicts that moderations—real or nominal—influence interest rates. We examine the quantitative predictions of a consumption-based asset pricing model for shifts in the unconditional average of U.S. interest rates. A central finding is that such shifts probably were related to changes in average inflation rather than to moderations in inflation and consumption growth.

Suggested Citation

  • James M. Nason & Gregor W. Smith, 2008. "Great moderations and U.S. interest rates: unconditional evidence," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2008-01, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedawp:2008-01
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    Cited by:

    1. Nason, James M. & Tallman, Ellis W., 2015. "Business Cycles And Financial Crises: The Roles Of Credit Supply And Demand Shocks," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, pages 836-882.
    2. Keating, John W. & Valcarcel, Victor J., 2015. "The Time-Varying Effects Of Permanent And Transitory Shocks To Real Output," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, pages 477-507.
    3. Fernández-Villaverde, Jesús & Guerrón-Quintana, Pablo & Rubio-Ramírez, Juan F., 2015. "Estimating dynamic equilibrium models with stochastic volatility," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, pages 216-229.
    4. Wall, Larry D. & Peterson, David R., 1995. "Bank holding company capital targets in the early 1990s: The regulators versus the markets," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 19(3-4), pages 563-574, June.
    5. Alexopoulos, Michelle & Tombe, Trevor, 2012. "Management matters," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, pages 269-285.
    6. Keating, John W. & Valcarcel, Victor J., 2015. "The Time-Varying Effects Of Permanent And Transitory Shocks To Real Output," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, pages 477-507.
    7. Thorsten V. Koeppl, 2009. "How Flexible Can Inflation Targeting Be? Suggestions for the Future of Canada's Targeting Regime," C.D. Howe Institute Commentary, C.D. Howe Institute, issue 293, August.
    8. Keating, John W. & Valcarcel, Victor J., 2017. "What's so great about the Great Moderation?," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, pages 115-142.
    9. John W. Keating & Victor J. Valcarcel, 2012. "What's so Great about the Great Moderation? A Multi-Country Investigation of Time-Varying Volatilities of Output Growth and Inflation," WORKING PAPERS SERIES IN THEORETICAL AND APPLIED ECONOMICS 201204, University of Kansas, Department of Economics.
    10. Moen, Jon R. & Tallman, Ellis W., 2000. "Clearinghouse Membership and Deposit Contraction during the Panic of 1907," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 60(01), pages 145-163, March.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Interest rates ; Inflation (Finance);

    JEL classification:

    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E43 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Interest Rates: Determination, Term Structure, and Effects
    • N12 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-

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