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Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond
Richmond Fed Economic Brief
Calculating the Natural Rate of Interest: A Comparison of Two Alternative Approaches
Thomas A. Lubik
Christian Matthes

The natural rate of interest is a key concept in monetary economics because its level relative to the real rate of interest allows economists to assess the stance of monetary policy. However, the natural rate of interest cannot be observed; it must be calculated using identifying assumptions. This Economic Brief compares the popular Laubach-Williams approach to calculating the natural rate with an alternative method that imposes fewer theoretical restrictions. Both approaches indicate that the natural rate has been above the real rate for a long time.

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Thomas A. Lubik & Christian Matthes, "Calculating the Natural Rate of Interest: A Comparison of Two Alternative Approaches" , Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, Richmond Fed Economic Brief, issue Oct, pages 1-6, 2015.
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