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Estimating equilibrium real interest rates in real time

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  • Todd E. Clark
  • Sharon Kozicki

Abstract

We use a range of simple models and 22 years of real-time data vintages for the U.S. to assess the difficulties of estimating the equilibrium real interest rate in real time. Model specifications differ according to whether the time-varying equilibrium real rate is linked to trend growth, and whether potential output and growth are defined by the CBO's estimates or treated as unobserved variables. Our results reveal a high degree of specification uncertainty, an important one-sided filtering problem, and considerable imprecision due to data uncertainty. Also, the link between trend growth and the equilibrium real rate is shown to be quite weak. Overall, we conclude that statistical estimates of the equilibrium real rate will be difficult to use reliably in practical policy applications.

Suggested Citation

  • Todd E. Clark & Sharon Kozicki, 2004. "Estimating equilibrium real interest rates in real time," Research Working Paper RWP 04-08, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedkrw:rwp04-08
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Interest rates ; Real time data;

    JEL classification:

    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • C3 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables
    • E4 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates
    • C5 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling

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