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Are Real Interest Rates Equal Across Countries? An Empirical Investigation of International Parity Conditions

Listed author(s):
  • Frederic S. Mishkin

The proposition that real rates are equal across countries is worth studying because it is central to our understanding of open economy macroeconomics and because it is also an important issue to policy makers. If it is true, then domestic monetary authorities have no control over their real rate relative to the world rate, limiting the impact of their stabilization policies. In addition, as Feldstein has pointed out, unless real rates can differ across countries, policies directed at increasing domestic savings cannot increase the rate of capital formation and hence productivity. The equality of real rates is also worth investigating, because it is intimately linked to and provides information on the basic parity conditions featured so prominently in open economy macro models.This paper conducts empirical tests of the equality of real rates and other parity conditions across countries using euro rate data over the1967-II to 1979-II sample period. The empirical evidence strongly rejects the hypothesis of the equality of real euro rates across countries. The joint hypotheses of uncovered interest parity and ex ante relative PPP, or the unbiasedness of forward rate forecasts and ex ante relative PPP, are also strongly rejected. Yet independent tests of uncovered interest parity, the unbiasedness of forward rate forecasts and ex ante relative PPP yield few rejections and high marginal significance levels. The evidence suggests that it is worth studying open economy models which allow: 1) domestic real rates to differ from world rates, 2) time varying risk premiums in the forward market or 3) deviations from ex ante relative purchasing power parity.The evidence also leaves open the possibility for policy makers to exertsome control over their domestic real rate relative to those in the rest of the world. However, the evidence does not rule out that there is a tendency for real rates across countries to equalize over time, and this is an important topic for further research.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 1048.

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Date of creation: Dec 1982
Publication status: published as Mishkin, Frederic S. "Are Real Interest Rates Equal Across Countries? An Empirical Investigation of International Parity Conditions." Journal of Finance, Vol. 39, No. 5, (December 1984), pp. 1345- 1357.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1048
Note: EFG
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  1. Frenkel, Jacob A & Mussa, Michael L, 1980. "The Efficiency of Foreign Exchange Markets and Measures of Turbulence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(2), pages 374-381, May.
  2. McCormick, Frank, 1979. "Covered Interest Arbitrage: Unexploited Profits? Comment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(2), pages 411-417, April.
  3. Krasker, William S., 1980. "The `peso problem' in testing the efficiency of forward exchange markets," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 269-276, April.
  4. Frenkel, Jacob A & Levich, Richard M, 1975. "Covered Interest Arbitrage: Unexploited Profits?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(2), pages 325-338, April.
  5. Frank McCormick, 1979. "Covered-interest arbitrage: unexploited profits: comment," International Finance Discussion Papers 132, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  6. Martin Feldstein, 1991. "Domestic Saving and International Capital Movements in the Long Run and the Short Run," NBER Chapters,in: International Volatility and Economic Growth: The First Ten Years of The International Seminar on Macroeconomics, pages 331-353 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Dornbusch, Rudiger, 1976. "Expectations and Exchange Rate Dynamics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(6), pages 1161-1176, December.
  8. Jacob A. Frenkel & Michael L. Mussa, 1980. "Efficiency of Foreign Exchange Markets and Measures of Turbulence," NBER Working Papers 0476, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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