The Natural Interest Rate in Emerging Markets

Ashima Goyal
JEL codes: 

An optimizing model of a small open emerging market economy (SOEME) with
dualistic labour markets and two types of consumers, is used to derive the natural
interest rate, terms of trade and potential output. Shocks are classified into generic
types that affect the natural interest rates. Since parameters depend on features of the
labour market and on consumption inequality, the natural rates and the impact of
shocks differ from those in a mature small open economy. Subsistence consumption is
found to have the largest effect on the natural rates. It reduces the interest rate, raises
natural output and the terms of trade. Technology and infrastructure backwardness
reduce natural output. The implications for monetary policy are derived. The effect of
managed exchange rates combined with different types of inflation targeting is
examined through simulations. Endogenous terms of trade make the supply curve
steeper in a SOEME, so partial stickiness of the real exchange rate can be beneficial.
In general, domestic inflation targeting, with some weight on the output gap, delivers
lower volatility. Output response is higher and volatility lower with fixed terms of
trade, demonstrating the flatter supply curve. CPI inflation targeting also does well
when terms of trade are credibly fixed.