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A prolonged period of low interest rates in Europe: Unintended consequences

Simona Malovana, Josef Bajzík, Dominika Ehrenbergerová and Jan Janků
Authors registered in the RePEc Author Service: Dominika Kolcunová

Journal of Economic Surveys, 2023, vol. 37, issue 2, 526-572

Abstract: We examine the potential adverse effects of a prolonged period of low interest rates on financial stability from multiple perspectives. First, we provide a unique comparison of natural rates of interest estimated using two approaches—with and without financial factors—for six large European countries inside and outside the euro area. Second, we provide a comprehensive review of the empirical literature, allowing us to identify and categorize financial vulnerabilities, which may be created and fueled by low interest rates. Third, we discuss a situation in which a prolonged period of low interest rates may lead to a point of no return by contributing to higher indebtedness, overvalued asset prices and underpriced risks, resource and credit misallocation, and lower productivity. With respect to all of that, we offer a few monetary policy considerations. Specifically, we suggest that (i) monetary policy should act symmetrically over the medium to long term, (ii) both the short‐term and long‐term costs and benefits of pursuing accommodative or restrictive monetary policy should be accounted for, and (iii) monetary and macroprudential policies need to be coordinated, and their interactions should be accounted for in order to find the best policy mix for the economy.

Date: 2023
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Handle: RePEc:bla:jecsur:v:37:y:2023:i:2:p:526-572