A Tale of Two Effects
This paper adopts a New Keynesian approach to analyze the relationship between nominal interest rates and prices. In this new framework, both a positive relation between interest rates and price levels (i.e., a positive Gibson effect) and a negative relation between interest rates and subsequent price changes (i.e., a negative Fama-Fisher effect) arise when money is supplied inelastically and prices are flexible. Such an economy is subject to Gibson’s Paradox, a long-standing puzzle in monetary economics, and a novel paradox identified here, a Fama-Fisher Paradox. By contrast, economies characterized by elastic money and sticky prices are not so paradoxical since nominal interest rates are positively related to subsequent inflation and ambiguously related to the price level. Empirical analysis of nearly two centuries of data for ten countries supports the new theory.
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