Who Puts the Inflation Premium Into Nominal Interests Rates?

Benjamin M. Friedman

NBER Working Paper No. 231
Issued in 1978
NBER Program(s):Monetary Economics

For expectations of price inflation to affect interest rates, they must affect the behavior of borrowers and lenders or both. This paper analyzes the emergence of the inflation premium in long-term interest rates as the explicit result of borrowers' and lenders' behavior in the bond market in response to price expectations. The object of this analysis is not only to estimate the magnitude of the inflation premium due to this portfolio behavior but also to evaluate the respective contributions to it of borrowers' and lenders' responses. The empirical results presented in this paper indicate that both borrowers' and lenders' portfolio behavior play an important role in the relationship between interest rates and inflation expectations. Estimation results for U.S. data provide evidence that, all other things equal, nonfinancial business corporations increase their supply (net issuance)of bonds in response to an increase in expected inflation; these results mirror the bond investors' responses found by the author in a previous paper. Partial equilibrium experiments based on the combined model of bond supply and bond demand indicate that, all other things equal, the port-folio responses to expected price inflation by borrowers and lenders together increase the bond yield by 2/3%, and modestly decrease the net quantity of bonds issued and purchased, in response to a 1% increase in expected inflation. This result follows as the consequence of a slightly greater response by lenders than by borrowers.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w0231

Published: Friedman, Benjamin M. "Who Puts the Inflation Premium into Nominal Interest Rates?" The Journal of Finance, Vol. XXXIII, No. 3, (June 1978), pp. 833-8 45.

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