David Martinez-Miera, Rafael Repullo, 12 October 2015

Discussions on the connection between the level of interest rates, incentives to search for yield, and financial stability have been prominent over the last ten years or so. More recently, Larry Summers argued in his 2014 secular stagnation address that the decline in the real interest rates would be expected to increase financial instability. This column addresses the challenging issue of providing an explanation for the connection between these phenomena. An increase in the supply of savings that reduces equilibrium real rates can be associated with an increase in the risk of the banking system. This link can explain the emergence of endogenous boom and bust cycles.

Bo Becker, Victoria Ivashina, 03 May 2013

Fixed-income investors that have targets based on imperfect risk measures are tempted to take on additional risk to raise their portfolio yields. This column argues that when yields are low such ‘reaching for yield’ may be especially attractive. New research that quantifies reaching-for-yield for corporate-bond investors shows that insurance companies, which are regulated based on broad ratings categories, assume additional risk by selectively overweighting risker bonds within categories. There is evidence that this distorts pricing and issuance.

Luis Viceira, John Campbell, Adi Sunderam, 27 October 2010

The historically low yields on Treasury bonds are the hallmark of a bubble, according to some commentators. This column analyses the relationship between bond yields, the stock market, and inflation over the past 50 years. It finds that the riskiness of nominal bonds changes over time and that investors and policymakers can use the changing stock-bond correlation as a real-time measure of inflation expectations.

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