Monetary policy and the zero bound to nominal interest rates

Quarterly Bulletin 2003 Q1
Published on 21 March 2003

By Tony Yates of the Bank's Monetary Assessment and Strategy Division. 

Some commentators have recently discussed the possibility that certain countries may experience a period of general price deflation. In such a situation, nominal interest rates may reach their lower bound of zero. This article concludes that the evidence available suggests that such a situation is highly unlikely to occur in the United Kingdom. It reviews what the academic literature has to say about the scope for alternatives to cutting interest rates in the improbable event that nominal interest rates do reach zero.

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