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A New Normal for Interest Rates? Evidence from Inflation-Indexed Debt

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  • Jens H. E. Christensen
  • Glenn D. Rudebusch

Abstract

The downtrend in U.S. interest rates over the past two decades may partly reflect a decline in the longer-run equilibrium real rate of interest. We examine this issue using dynamic term structure models that account for time-varying term and liquidity risk premiums and are estimated directly from prices of individual inflation-indexed bonds. Our finance-based approach avoids two potential pitfalls of previous macroeconomic analyses: structural breaks at the zero lower bound and misspecification of output and inflation dynamics. We estimate that the longer-run equilibrium real rate has fallen about 2 percentage points and appears unlikely to rise quickly.

Suggested Citation

  • Jens H. E. Christensen & Glenn D. Rudebusch, 2018. "A New Normal for Interest Rates? Evidence from Inflation-Indexed Debt," Working Paper Series 2017-07, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedfwp:2017-07
    DOI: 10.24148/wp2017-07
    Note: The first version of this paper was published May 15, 2017.
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    JEL classification:

    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • N20 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - General, International, or Comparative

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