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Can the Fed Control Real Interest Rates?

  • Robert J. Shiller

Three hypotheses concerning the controllability of rationally expected real interest rates are examined here. These hypotheses, which are suggested by recent literature, assert in different senses that the stochastic properties of expected real interest rates are independent of the Fed policy rule. We discuss the meaning and implications of the hypotheses, and how they might be tested. Evaluation of the hypotheses is attempted by examination of the Fed's "quasi-controlled experiments," historical changes in policy regimes, Granger-Sims causality tests, Barro unanticipated money regressions, and other methods. Questions as to the relevance of any such methods are discussed.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w0348.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 0348.

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Date of creation: May 1979
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Publication status: published as Shiller, Robert J. "Can the Fed Control Real Interest Rates?" Rational Expectations and Economic Policy, edited by Stanley Fischer, pp. 117-168. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:0348
Note: ME
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  1. Thomas Sargent, 1971. "Expectations at the Short End of the Yield Curve: An Application of Macaulay's Test," NBER Chapters, in: Essays on Interest Rates, Volume 2, pages 391-412 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Joines, Douglas, 1977. "Short-Term Interest Rates as Predictors of Inflation: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(3), pages 476-77, June.
  3. Sargent, Thomas J, 1976. "The Observational Equivalence of Natural and Unnatural Rate Theories of Macroeconomics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(3), pages 631-40, June.
  4. William Poole, 2001. "Expectations," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Mar, pages 1-10.
  5. Phelps, Edmund S & Taylor, John B, 1977. "Stabilizing Powers of Monetary Policy under Rational Expectations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(1), pages 163-90, February.
  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 478-86, June.
  7. Fama, Eugene F, 1975. "Short-Term Interest Rates as Predictors of Inflation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 65(3), pages 269-82, June.
  8. Carlson, John A, 1977. "Short-Term Interest Rates as Predictors of Inflation: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(3), pages 469-75, June.
  9. Shiller, Robert J & Siegel, Jeremy J, 1977. "The Gibson Paradox and Historical Movements in Real Interest Rates," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(5), pages 891-907, October.
  10. Robert J. Shiller, 1975. "Rational Expectations and the Dynamic Structure of Macroeconomic Models:A Critical Review," NBER Working Papers 0093, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Sargent, Thomas J & Wallace, Neil, 1975. ""Rational" Expectations, the Optimal Monetary Instrument, and the Optimal Money Supply Rule," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(2), pages 241-54, April.
  12. William Poole, 1976. "Rational Expectations in the Macro Model," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 7(2), pages 463-514.
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