IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Effect of Steady Inflation on Interest Rates and the Real Exchange Rate in a World with Free Capital Flows


  • David W.R. Gruen

    (Reserve Bank of Australia)


Over the last six years, Australia has experienced relatively high steady inflation and high real interest rates – especially short-term rates. This paper argues that these high real rates are a consequence of the interaction between the relatively high inflation and a tax system which taxes nominal income. The paper then explains how these high real rates can persist in a world with free global capital flows. We argue that foreign lenders find Australian nominal assets attractive, and their demand for them appreciates the Australian real exchange rate. However, foreign demand for Australian nominal assets is not insatiable. Having driven up the Australian real exchange rate, foreigners eventually conclude that the excess return on the high Australian interest rates is offset by the possibility that the overvaluation of the real exchange rate will unwind. The paper formalizes these ideas in a model.

Suggested Citation

  • David W.R. Gruen, 1991. "The Effect of Steady Inflation on Interest Rates and the Real Exchange Rate in a World with Free Capital Flows," RBA Research Discussion Papers rdp9101, Reserve Bank of Australia.
  • Handle: RePEc:rba:rbardp:rdp9101

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Willem H. Buiter & Marcus Miller, 1991. "Real Exchange Rate Overshooting and the Output Cost of Bringing Down Inflation," NBER Chapters,in: International Volatility and Economic Growth: The First Ten Years of The International Seminar on Macroeconomics, pages 239-277 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Alesina, A. & Gruen, D.W.R. & Jones, M.T., 1990. "Fiscal Adjustment, The Real Exchange Rate And Australian'S External Imbalance," CEPR Discussion Papers 233, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
    3. Kathryn Dominguez & Jeffrey A. Frankel, 1991. "Does foreign exchange intervention matter? disentangling the portfolio and expectations effects for the mark," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Nov.
    4. Buiter, Willem H & Miller, Marcus, 1981. "Monetary Policy and International Competitiveness: The Problems of Adjustment," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 33(0), pages 143-175, Supplemen.
    5. Frankel, Jeffrey A., 1988. "Recent estimates of time-variation in the conditional variance and in the exchange risk premium," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 115-125, March.
    6. Ball, Laurence, 1992. "Why does high inflation raise inflation uncertainty?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 371-388, June.
    7. Frankel, Jeffrey & Engel, Charles M., 1984. "Do asset-demand functions optimize over the mean and variance of real returns? A six-currency test," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(3-4), pages 309-323, November.
    8. Martin Feldstein, 1983. "Inflation, Income Taxes, and the Rate of Interest: A Theoretical Analysis," NBER Chapters,in: Inflation, Tax Rules, and Capital Formation, pages 28-43 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Liviatan, Nissan, 1980. "Anti-Inflationary Monetary Policy and the Capital Import Tax," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 171, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    10. Gordon, J M, 1986. "The J-Curve Effects," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 0(0), pages 82-88, Supplemen.
    11. Jeremy Smith & David W.R. Gruen, 1989. "A Random Walk Around the $A: Expectations, Risk, Interest Rates and Consequences for External Imbalance," RBA Research Discussion Papers rdp8906, Reserve Bank of Australia.
    12. Jeffrey A. Frankel, 1985. "The Dazzling Dollar," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 16(1), pages 199-217.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. K.F. Wallis, 1992. "On Macroeconomic Policy and Macroeconomic Modeling," Economics Discussion / Working Papers 92-04, The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics.
    2. Tamim Bayoumi & Joseph E. Gagnon, 1992. "Taxation and inflation: a new explanation for current account imbalances," International Finance Discussion Papers 420, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    3. Michele Bullock & Mark Rider, 1991. "The Cross-country Relationship between Interest Rates and Inflation over Three Decades," RBA Research Discussion Papers rdp9104, Reserve Bank of Australia.
    4. Bayoumi, Tamim & Gagnon, Joseph, 1996. "Taxation and inflation: A new explanation for capital flows," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 303-330, October.
    5. Nigel Dews & John Hawkins & Tracey Horton, 1992. "Measuring the Cost of Capital in Australia," RBA Research Discussion Papers rdp9205, Reserve Bank of Australia.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:rba:rbardp:rdp9101. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Paula Drew). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.