Norges Bank

Working Paper

“Interest rate trap”, or: Why does the central bank keep the policy rate too low for too long time?

Jin Cao and Gerhard Illing
Working Paper


This paper provides a framework for modeling the risk-taking channel of monetary policy, the mechanism how financial intermediaries’ incentives for liquidity transformation are affected by the central bank’s reaction to financial crisis. Anticipating central bank’s reaction to liquidity stress gives banks incentives to invest in excessive liquidity transformation, triggering an “interest rate trap” – the economy will remain stuck in a long lasting period of sub-optimal, low interest rate equilibrium. We demonstrate that interest rate policy as financial stabilizer is dynamically inconsistent, and the constraint efficient outcome can be implemented by imposing ex ante liquidity requirements.

Norges Bank’s working papers present research projects and reports that are generally not in their final form. Other analyses by Norges Bank’s economists are also included in the series. The views and conclusions in these documents are those of the authors.

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ISSN 1502-8190 (online)

Published 21 November 2011 10:00
Published 21 November 2011 10:00