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Making Sense of Negative Nominal Interest Rates

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Several advanced economies implemented negative nominal interest rates in the middle of the last decade, seeking to provide further monetary accommodation once cuts in positive territory had been exhausted. Negative rates affect banks in novel ways, mostly because during times of negative policy rates the interest rate that banks pay households on their deposits usually remains close to zero. In this review, we analyze the large literature that studies the impact of negative nominal interest rates, proceeding in four steps. First, we explain the theoretical channels through which negative rates affect banks. Second, we discuss the empirical findings about bank outcomes under negative rates. Third, we describe the aggregate transmission channels that influence the macroeconomic implications of a policy rate cut in negative territory. Finally, we compare the general-equilibrium models that have been used to quantify the effectiveness of negative rates and highlight why they have obtained mixed results. We conclude that, if properly implemented, negative rates are a valuable tool that central banks should not discard outright. However, negative rates can have quantifiable costs for the financial sector, and their effectiveness is likely to decline if implemented for long periods.

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  • Cynthia Balloch & Yann Koby & Mauricio Ulate, 2022. "Making Sense of Negative Nominal Interest Rates," Working Paper Series 2022-12, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedfwp:94465
    DOI: 10.24148/wp2022-12
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    Cited by:

    1. Onofri, Marco & Peersman, Gert & Smets, Frank, 2023. "The effectiveness of a negative interest rate policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 140(C), pages 16-33.
    2. Darracq Pariès, Matthieu & Kok, Christoffer & Rottner, Matthias, 2023. "Reversal interest rate and macroprudential policy," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 159(C).
    3. Fungáécová, Zuzana & Kerola, Eeva & Laine, Olli-Matti, 2023. "Monetary policy transmission below zero," Bank of Finland Research Discussion Papers 11/2023, Bank of Finland.
    4. Simon H. Kwan & Mauricio Ulate & Ville Voutilainen, 2023. "The Transmission of Negative Nominal Interest Rates in Finland," Working Paper Series 2023-11, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
    5. Bats, Joost V. & Giuliodori, Massimo & Houben, Aerdt C.F.J., 2023. "Monetary policy effects in times of negative interest rates: What do bank stock prices tell us?," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 53(C).
    6. de Groot, Oliver & Haas, Alexander, 2023. "The signalling channel of negative interest rates," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 138(C), pages 87-103.
    7. Joseph Abadi & Markus Brunnermeier & Yann Koby, 2023. "The Reversal Interest Rate," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 113(8), pages 2084-2120, August.
    8. Grandi, Pietro & Guille, Marianne, 2023. "Banks, deposit rigidity and negative rates," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 133(C).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    negative nominal interest rates; Negative Interest Rates; ZLB; ELB; Monetary Policy; Bank Profitability; Central Banking;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages

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