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Understanding Real Interest Rates

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  • MISHKIN, F.S.

Abstract

This paper outlines an approach to measuring real interest rates and testing hypotheses on their behavior. It then describes what we know about real interest rates in the aggregate economy and provides estimates of real interest rates for the agricultural sector. The evidence presented in this paper indicates that real interest rates for the agricultural economy have been extremely high in the l98Ds and that their behavior seems to be linked to that found for real rates in the aggregate economy. What has been the source of these high real rates? The answer seems to be that it was a result of a concerted effort by the monetary authorities to disinflate the economy. However, the brunt of the Fed's disinflationary policy has fallen more heavily on the farm sector which has had to face far higher reel rates than the rest of the economy. Although breaking the back of inflation was certainly a worthy goal for the Fed, farmers have had to pay a heavy price. They have had to suffer for the sins of an economy that was excessively inflationary, which then had to be brought back into line with disinflationary policy.
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Suggested Citation

  • Mishkin, F.S., 1988. "Understanding Real Interest Rates," Papers fb-_88-40, Columbia - Graduate School of Business.
  • Handle: RePEc:fth:colubu:fb-_88-40
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Frederic S. Mishkin, 1984. "The Real Interest Rate: A Multi-Country Empirical Study," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 17(2), pages 283-311, May.
    2. Huizinga, John & Mishkin, Frederic S, 1984. " Inflation and Real Interest Rates on Assets with Different Risk Characteristics," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 39(3), pages 699-712, July.
    3. Fama, Eugene F, 1975. "Short-Term Interest Rates as Predictors of Inflation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 65(3), pages 269-282, June.
    4. Cumby, Robert E. & Mishkin, Frederic S., 1986. "The international linkage of real interest rates: The European-US connection," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 5-23, March.
    5. Sims, Christopher A, 1980. "Macroeconomics and Reality," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(1), pages 1-48, January.
    6. Nelson, Charles R & Schwert, G William, 1977. "Short-Term Interest Rates as Predictors of Inflation: On Testing the Hypothesis That the Real Rate of Interest is Constant," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(3), pages 478-486, June.
    7. Lawrence H. Summers, 1982. "The Nonadjustment of Nominal Interest Rates: A Study of the Fisher Effect," NBER Working Papers 0836, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Evans, Paul, 1985. "Do Large Deficits Produce High Interest Rates?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(1), pages 68-87, March.
    9. Lucas, Robert Jr, 1976. "Econometric policy evaluation: A critique," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 19-46, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. John B. Shoven & Scott B. Smart & Joel Waldfogel, 1992. "Real Interest Rates and the Savings and Loan Crisis: The Moral Hazard Premium," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 6(1), pages 155-167, Winter.
    2. Mishkin, Frederic S & Simon, John, 1995. "An Empirical Examination of the Fisher Effect in Australia," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 71(214), pages 217-229, September.
    3. Noor Ghazali & Shamshubariah Ramlee, 2003. "A long memory test of the long-run Fisher effect in the G7 countries," Applied Financial Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(10), pages 763-769.
    4. Tsay, Wen-Jen, 2000. "Long memory story of the real interest rate," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 67(3), pages 325-330, June.
    5. Jansen, W Jos & Schulze, Gunther G, 1996. "Theory-Based Measurement of the Saving-Investment Correlation with an Application to Norway," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 34(1), pages 116-132, January.
    6. Fletcher, Donna J. & Gulley, O. David, 1996. "Forecasting the real interest rate," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 55-76.
    7. Günther Schulze & Karl-Josef Koch, 1994. "Tax competition in a Bertrand model," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 59(2), pages 193-215, June.
    8. Chu, Quentin C. & Pittman, Deborah N. & Yu, Linda Q., 2003. "Real rates, nominal rates, and the Fisherian link," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 189-205.

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