Working Paper | HBS Working Paper Series | 2012

Monetary Policy and Long-Term Real Rates

by Samuel G. Hanson and Jeremy C. Stein

Abstract

Changes in monetary policy have surprisingly strong effects on forward real rates in the distant future. A 100 basis-point increase in the 2-year nominal yield on an FOMC announcement day is associated with a 42 basis-point increase in the 10-year forward real rate. This finding is at odds with standard macro models based on sticky nominal prices, which imply that monetary policy cannot move real rates over a horizon longer than that over which all prices in the economy can readjust. Rather, the responsiveness of long-term real rates to monetary shocks appears to reflect changes in term premia. One mechanism that may generate such variation in term premia is based on demand effects coming from "yield-oriented" investors. We find some evidence supportive of this channel.

Keywords: Money; Investment; Policy; Interest Rates;

Citation:

Hanson, Samuel G., and Jeremy C. Stein. "Monetary Policy and Long-Term Real Rates." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 13-008, July 2012.