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Measuring the Natural Rate of Interest

Thomas Laubach () and John Williams ()

The Review of Economics and Statistics, 2003, vol. 85, issue 4, 1063-1070

Abstract: The natural rate of interest-the real interest rate consistent with output equaling its natural rate and stable inflation-plays a central role in macroeconomic theory and monetary policy. Estimation of the natural rate of interest, however, has received little attention. We apply the Kalman filter to estimate jointly time-varying natural rates of interest and output and trend growth. We find a close link between the natural rate of interest and the trend growth rate, as predicted by theory. Estimates of the natural rate of interest, however, are very imprecise and subject to considerable real-time measurement error. © 2003 President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Date: 2003
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The Review of Economics and Statistics is currently edited by Amitabh Chandra, Olivier Coibion, Bryan S. Graham, Shachar Kariv, Amit K. Khandelwal, Asim Ijaz Khwaja, Brigitte C. Madrian and Rohini Pande

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