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Hauzenberger, Niko
Kaufmann, Daniel
Stuart, Rebecca
Tille, Cédric
Year of Publication: 
Series/Report no.: 
IRENE Working Paper No. 22-03
University of Neuchâtel, Institute of Economic Research (IRENE), Neuchâtel
We study domestic and international drivers of long-term interest rates using newly compiled financial market data for Switzerland starting in 1852. We use a time-varying parameter vector autoregressive model to estimate long-term trends in nominal interest rates, exchange rate growth, and inflation. We then decompose the Swiss long-term interest rate trend into various drivers using an interest rate accounting framework. The decline in long-term interest rates since 1970 is mainly driven by a decline in the level of inflation. Comparing Switzerland with the rest of the world, we show that while Swiss real interest rates were higher during the 19th century, the pattern reversed after World War 2 with Swiss nominal and real rates becoming lower than foreign ones. However, this Swiss "low interest rate island" has disappeared in recent years. We document a connection between inflation risk and the Swiss term spread, as well between relative inflation risk and the difference between Swiss and foreign real interest rates.
Natural rate of interest
exchange rate
inflation risk
term spread
uncovered interest parity
historical data
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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