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Searching for the Natural Rate of Interest: a Euro-Area Perspective

A time-varying natural rate of interest is estimated for the euro area using a multivariate unobserved components model. The problem of aggregating interest rate data for the pre-EMU period is directly addressed, and a simple method in order to adjust the risk premia in the interest rate data prior to 1999 is proposed. We show that, for the pre-EMU period, using risk-unadjusted policy rates leads to periods of high risk premia being erroneously taken as monetary policy replies to the output gap; by contrast, using risk-adjusted policy rates yields an estimate of the reaction of monetary policy to the output gap corresponding approximately to an increase of 40 basis points for a 1% positive deviation of output from potential output. A positive deviation of inflation from its trend of 1% is estimated to have triggered approximately a 1.2% increase in short-term interest rates.

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Paper provided by Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank) in its series Working Papers with number 84.

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Length: 33
Date of creation: 21 Jul 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:onb:oenbwp:84
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  1. Dieter Gerdesmeier & Barbara Roffia, 2004. "Empirical Estimates of Reaction Functions for the Euro Area," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 140(I), pages 37-66, March.
  2. Clarida, Richard & Gali, Jordi & Gertler, Mark, 1997. "Monetary Policy Rules in Practice: Some International Evidence," Working Papers 97-32, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  3. Athanasios Orphanides, 1998. "Monetary policy rules based on real-time data," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1998-03, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  4. Robert J. Hodrick & Edward Prescott, 1981. "Post-War U.S. Business Cycles: An Empirical Investigation," Discussion Papers 451, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  5. Gerlach, Stefan & Schnabel, Gert, 1999. "The Taylor Rule and Interest Rates in the EMU Area," CEPR Discussion Papers 2271, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Michał Brzoza-Brzezina, 2006. "The information content of the neutral rate of interest," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 14(2), pages 391-412, 04.
  7. Cogley, Timothy & Nason, James M., 1995. "Effects of the Hodrick-Prescott filter on trend and difference stationary time series Implications for business cycle research," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 19(1-2), pages 253-278.
  8. Athanasios Orphanides & John C. Williams, 2003. "Robust monetary policy rules with unknown natural rates," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2003-11, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  9. Thomas Laubach & John C. Williams, 2003. "Measuring the Natural Rate of Interest," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(4), pages 1063-1070, November.
  10. Bomfim, Antulio N, 1997. "The Equilibrium Fed Funds Rate and the Indicator Properties of Term-Structure Spreads," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 35(4), pages 830-46, October.
  11. Neiss, Katharine S. & Nelson, Edward, 2003. "The Real-Interest-Rate Gap As An Inflation Indicator," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 7(02), pages 239-262, April.
  12. Smets, Frank & Wouters, Raf, 2002. "An estimated stochastic dynamic general equilibrium model of the euro area," Working Paper Series 0171, European Central Bank.
  13. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521405737 is not listed on IDEAS
  14. Harvey, A C & Jaeger, A, 1993. "Detrending, Stylized Facts and the Business Cycle," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 8(3), pages 231-47, July-Sept.
  15. Giammarioli, Nicola & Valla, Natacha, 2003. "The natural real rate of interest in the euro area," Working Paper Series 0233, European Central Bank.
  16. Hans Christiansen & Charles Pigott, 1997. "Long-Term Interest Rates in Globalised Markets," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 175, OECD Publishing.
  17. Taylor, John B., 1993. "Discretion versus policy rules in practice," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 195-214, December.
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