The Effect of Risk on Interest Rates: A Synthesis of the Macroeconomic and Financial Views

Pentti J.K. Kouri

NBER Working Paper No. 643
Issued in March 1981
NBER Program(s):International Trade and Investment, International Finance and Macroeconomics

This paper analyzes the effects of real income and price level uncertainty on equilibrium interest rates. It is demonstrated that even if there are no outside nominal assets, the interest rate on nominal bonds contains a risk premium, or as the case may be, a risk discount. The sign, and the magnitude, of the deviation from the Fisher parity depends on the covariance between the purchasing power of money on the one hand and real income on the other. The second part of the paper extends the model into a model of two countries, two monies and two bonds denominated in these two monies. It is shown, in contrast with statements made in the literature, that the 'efficiency' of international financial markets does not imply equality of expected real interest rates on bonds denominated in different currencies, nor does it imply that the forward exchange rate should be an unbiased predictor of the future spot exchange rate. This is again true even when there are no outside nominal assets in the world economy.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w0643


  • Kouri, Pentti J.K. "The Effect of Risk on Interest Rates: A Synthesis of the macroeconomic and Financial Views." Research in International Business & Finance: A research Annual. The Internationalization of Financial Markets & National Economic Policy, ed. by R.G. Hawkins & R.M. Levich, Vol. 3, 1983.
  • Kouri, Pentti J. K. "The Effect Of Risk And Interest Rates: A Synthesis Of The Macroeconomic And Financial Views," Research in International Business and Finance, 1983, v3(1), 301-320.

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