FEDS Paper: On the Negatives of Negative Interest Rates

Aleksander Berentsen, Hugo van Buggenum, Romina RuprechtMajor central banks remunerate reserves at negative rates (NIR). To study the long-run effects of NIR, we focus on the role of reserves as intertemporal stores of value that are used to settle interbank liabilities. We construct a dynamic general equilibrium model with commercial banks holding reserves and funding investments with retail deposits. In the long run, NIR distorts investment decisions, lowers welfare, depresses output, and reduces bank profitability. The type of distortion depends on the transmission of NIR to retail deposits. The availability of cash explains the asymmetric effects of policy-rate changes in negative vs positive territory.