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Measuring equilibrium real interest rates: what can we learn from yields on indexed bonds?

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  • Antulio N. Bomfim

Abstract

What does the level of the real interest rates tell us about where the economy, or one's portfolio, is headed? The answer to this question depends on one's estimate of the ``equilibrium'' value of real interest rates, a measure that is unfortunately not directly observed in the market place. In this paper, I provide a brief overview of some of the existing approaches to defining and measuring equilibrium real rates and introduce a novel method based on yields on the U.S. Treasury's inflation-indexed securities (TIIS). I discuss a simple framework for analyzing TIIS yields and illustrate how to use them to gauge the stance of monetary policy and overall economic prospects.

Suggested Citation

  • Antulio N. Bomfim, 2001. "Measuring equilibrium real interest rates: what can we learn from yields on indexed bonds?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2001-53, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2001-53
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Bomfim, Antulio N, 1997. "The Equilibrium Fed Funds Rate and the Indicator Properties of Term-Structure Spreads," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 35(4), pages 830-846, October.
    2. Bernanke, Ben S & Blinder, Alan S, 1992. "The Federal Funds Rate and the Channels of Monetary Transmission," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(4), pages 901-921, September.
    3. Flint Brayton & Peter A. Tinsley, 1996. "A guide to FRB/US: a macroeconomic model of the United States," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 96-42, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    4. Robert A. Jarrow, 2009. "The Term Structure of Interest Rates," Annual Review of Financial Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 69-96, November.
    5. Thomas Laubach & John C. Williams, 2003. "Measuring the Natural Rate of Interest," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(4), pages 1063-1070, November.
    6. Lars E.O. Svensson, 1994. "Estimating and Interpreting Forward Interest Rates: Sweden 1992 - 1994," NBER Working Papers 4871, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Robert J. Shiller & John Y. Campbell & Kermit L. Schoenholtz, 1983. "Forward Rates and Future Policy: Interpreting the Term Structure of Interest Rates," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 14(1), pages 173-224.
    8. Shiller, Robert J, 1979. "The Volatility of Long-Term Interest Rates and Expectations Models of the Term Structure," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1190-1219, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Feng Zhu, 2016. "Understanding the changing equilibrium real interest rates in Asia-Pacific," BIS Working Papers 567, Bank for International Settlements.
    2. Athanasios Orphanides & John C. Williams, 2002. "Robust Monetary Policy Rules with Unknown Natural Rates," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 33(2), pages 63-146.
    3. Giammarioli, Nicola & Valla, Natacha, 2004. "The natural real interest rate and monetary policy: a review," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 641-660, July.
    4. Rochelle Edge & Thomas Laubach, 2004. "Learning and Shifts in Long-Run Growth," Computing in Economics and Finance 2004 123, Society for Computational Economics.
    5. Clark, Todd E. & Kozicki, Sharon, 2005. "Estimating equilibrium real interest rates in real time," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 395-413, December.
    6. Jean-Paul Lam & Greg Tkacz, 2004. "Estimating Policy-Neutral Interest Rates for Canada Using a Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium Framework," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 140(I), pages 89-126, March.
    7. Belke, Ansgar & Klose, Jens, 2013. "Modifying Taylor reaction functions in the presence of the zero‐lower‐bound — Evidence for the ECB and the Fed," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 515-527.
    8. Pawel Gajewski, 2014. "Monetary policy stress in EMU during the moderation and the global crisis," Lodz Economics Working Papers 2/2014, University of Lodz, Faculty of Economics and Sociology.
    9. Paul Castillo & Carlos Montoro & Vicente Tuesta, 2006. "Measuring the Natural Interest Rate for the Peruvian Economy," Working Papers 2006-003, Banco Central de Reserva del Perú.
    10. Tanya ARAUJO & Sofia TERLICA & Samuel ELEUTERIO & Francisco LOUCA, 2014. "Does evidence challenge the DSGE model," International Journal of Entrepreneurial Knowledge, VSP Ostrava, a. s., vol. 2(2), pages 15-24, December.
    11. Edge, Rochelle M. & Laubach, Thomas & Williams, John C., 2007. "Learning and shifts in long-run productivity growth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(8), pages 2421-2438, November.
    12. Michał Brzoza-Brzezina & Jacek Kotłowski, 2014. "Measuring the natural yield curve," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(17), pages 2052-2065, June.
    13. Horváth, Roman, 2009. "The time-varying policy neutral rate in real-time: A predictor for future inflation?," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 71-81, January.
    14. Rodrigo Fuentes S & Fabián Gredig U., 2008. "The Neutral Interest Rate: Estimates for Chile," Journal Economía Chilena (The Chilean Economy), Central Bank of Chile, vol. 11(2), pages 47-58, August.

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    Keywords

    Government securities ; Inflation (Finance);

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