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

  • Antulio N. Bomfim
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    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.

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    File URL: http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/feds/2001/200153/200153abs.html
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    File URL: http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/feds/2001/200153/200153pap.pdf
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    Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series Finance and Economics Discussion Series with number 2001-53.

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    Date of creation: 2001
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    Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2001-53
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    1. Robert A. Jarrow, 2009. "The Term Structure of Interest Rates," Annual Review of Financial Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 69-96, November.
    2. Lars E.O. Svensson, 1994. "Estimating and Interpreting Forward Interest Rates: Sweden 1992 - 1994," NBER Working Papers 4871, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Thomas Laubach and John C. Williams, 2001. "Measuring the Natural Rate of Interest," Computing in Economics and Finance 2001 35, Society for Computational Economics.
    4. Ben S. Bernanke & Alan S. Blinder, 1989. "The federal funds rate and the channels of monetary transmission," Working Papers 89-10, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
    5. Robert J. Shiller & John Y. Campbell & Kermit L. Schoenholtz, 1983. "Forward Rates and Future Policy: Interpreting the Term Structure of Interest Rates," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 667, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    6. F. Brayton & P. 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.).
    7. 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 830-46, October.
    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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