Monday, November 01, 2004

The Equilibrium Real Interest Rate

Federal Reserve Governor Ferguson recently gave a nice speech concerning the concept of the equilibrium real interest rate. The interesting quote comes at the end, where he says:
This brief discussion highlights the uncertainties attending any attempt to measure the equilibrium real rate. I find these measures useful teaching tools to describe the complicated and iterative process of forecasting the path of the economy so as to arrive at the appropriate stance of policy. However, I believe it to be very important that the FOMC not go on a forced march to some point estimate of the equilibrium real federal funds rate. In my judgment, we should remove the current degree of accommodation at a pace that is importantly determined by incoming data and a changed outlook. Our knowledge of the workings of the economy is sufficiently imprecise that we could not attach much confidence to any single calculation that one might make of the equilibrium rate.

I wonder if he is really acknowledging the imprecision of our knowledge about the equilibrium real rate, or if he is merely training to anchor expectations, without actually committing to a number?

Keywords: ECO120, ECO301, ECO305, interest rates

No comments: