IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

What is the real story for interest rate volatility?

  • Andreas Hornstein
  • Harald F. Uhlig

What is the source of interest rate volatility? Why do low interest rates precede business cycle booms? Most observers tend to assume that monetary policy is largely responsible for it. Indeed, a standard real business cycle model delivers rather small fluctuations in real interest rates. Here, however, we present two models of the real business cycle variety in which real rate fluctuations are of similar magnitude as in the data, while simultaneously matching salient business cycle facts. The second model also replicates the cyclical behavior of real interest rates. The models build on recent work by Danthine-Donaldson, Jermann, and Boldrin-Christiano-Fisher. We assume that there are workers and capital owners. The first model posits habit formation and adjustment costs to the stock of capital. The second model assumes that it takes time to plan investment and time to build capital.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond in its series Working Paper with number 99-09.

in new window

Date of creation: 1999
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedrwp:99-09
Contact details of provider: Web page:

More information through EDIRC

Order Information: Web: Email:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Mehra, Rajnish & Prescott, Edward C., 1985. "The equity premium: A puzzle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 145-161, March.
  2. John Y. Campbell & John H. Cochrane, 1994. "By force of habit: a consumption-based explanation of aggregate stock market behavior," Working Papers 94-17, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  3. Krusell, Per & Smith, Anthony A., 1997. "Income And Wealth Heterogeneity, Portfolio Choice, And Equilibrium Asset Returns," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 1(02), pages 387-422, June.
  4. Andrew B. Abel, . "Asset Prices Under Habit Formation and Catching Up With the Jones," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 1-90, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
  5. Constantinides, George M, 1990. "Habit Formation: A Resolution of the Equity Premium Puzzle," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(3), pages 519-43, June.
  6. John Heaton & Deborah Lucas, 1993. "Evaluating the Effects of Incomplete Markets on Risk Sharing and Asset Pricing," NBER Working Papers 4249, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. John H. Cochrane, 1997. "Where is the market going? Uncertain facts and novel theories," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Nov, pages 3-37.
  8. Phillippe Weil, 1997. "The Equity Premium Puzzle and the Risk-Free Rate Puzzle," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1833, David K. Levine.
  9. Danthine, J.P. & Donaldson, J.B., 1994. "Asset Pricing Implications of Real Market Frictions," Papers 95-04, Columbia - Graduate School of Business.
  10. Abel, Andrew B., 1999. "Risk premia and term premia in general equilibrium," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 3-33, February.
  11. Lettau, M. & Uhlig, H.F.H.V.S., 1995. "Can Habit Formation be Reconciled with Business Cycle Facts?," Discussion Paper 1995-54, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  12. Stock, James H. & Watson, Mark W., 1999. "Business cycle fluctuations in us macroeconomic time series," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 1, pages 3-64 Elsevier.
  13. Danthine, Jean-Pierre & Donaldson, John B. & Mehra, Rajnish, 1992. "The equity premium and the allocation of income risk," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 16(3-4), pages 509-532.
  14. Casey B. Mulligan & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 1996. "Adoption of Financial Technologies: Implications for Money Demand and Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 5504, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. den Haan, Wouter J., 1995. "The term structure of interest rates in real and monetary economies," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 19(5-7), pages 909-940.
  16. S.G. Cecchetti & P. Lam & N.C. Mark, 2010. "The equity premium and the risk-free rate: matching the moments," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1396, David K. Levine.
  17. King, Robert G & Watson, Mark W, 1996. "Money, Prices, Interest Rates and the Business Cycle," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(1), pages 35-53, February.
  18. Rogerson, Richard, 1988. "Indivisible labor, lotteries and equilibrium," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 3-16, January.
  19. Jermann, Urban J., 1998. "Asset pricing in production economies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 257-275, April.
  20. Gary Hansen, 2010. "Indivisible Labor and the Business Cycle," Levine's Working Paper Archive 233, David K. Levine.
  21. Lusardi, Annamaria, 1998. "On the Importance of the Precautionary Saving Motive," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 449-53, May.
  22. Greenwood, Jeremy & Hercowitz, Zvi & Huffman, Gregory W, 1988. "Investment, Capacity Utilization, and the Real Business Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(3), pages 402-17, June.
  23. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1982. "Time to Build and Aggregate Fluctuations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1345-70, November.
  24. Lawrence J. Christiano & Michele Boldrin & Jonas D. M. Fisher, 2001. "Habit Persistence, Asset Returns, and the Business Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 149-166, March.
  25. Lettau, Martin & Uhlig, Harald, 1997. "Preferences, Consumption Smoothing, and Risk Premia," CEPR Discussion Papers 1678, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  26. repec:dgr:kubcen:199554 is not listed on IDEAS
  27. Mankiw, N.G. & Zeldes, S.P., 1990. "The Consumption Of Stockholders And Non-Stockholders," Weiss Center Working Papers 23-90, Wharton School - Weiss Center for International Financial Research.
  28. Wouter J. Den Haan, 1996. "Understanding Equilibrium Models with a Small and a Large Number of Agents," NBER Working Papers 5792, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:fedrwp:99-09. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (William Perkins)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.