30.10.2019 - Studies

Reasons for the Demise of Interest: Savings Glut and Secular Stagnation or Central Bank Policy?

by Thomas Mayer, Gunther Schnabl

In this paper we compare the Keynesian, neoclassical and Austrian explanations for low interest rates and sluggish growth.

From a Keynesian and neoclassical perspective low interest rates are attributed to ageing societies, which save more for the future (global savings glut). Low growth is linked to slowing population growth and a declining marginal efficiency of investment as well as to declining fixed capital investment due to digitalization (secular stagnation). In contrast, from the perspective of Austrian business cycle theory, interest rates were step by step decreased by central banks to stimulate growth. This paralyzed investment and growth in the long term. We show that the ability of banks to extend credit ex nihilo and the need of time to produce capital invalidates the IS identity assumed in the Keynesian theory to hold permanently. Furthermore, we find no empirical evidence for the global savings glut and secular stagnation hypotheses. Instead, low growth can be explained by the emergence of quasi “soft budget constraints” as a result of low interest rates, which reduce the incentive for banks and enterprises to strive for efficiency.

Download study as PDF(Reading time 60 min)

Related Articles

Legal notice

The information contained and opinions expressed in this document reflect the views of the author at the time of publication and are subject to change without prior notice. Forward-looking statements reflect the judgement and future expectations of the author. The opinions and expectations found in this document may differ from estimations found in other documents of Flossbach von Storch AG. The above information is provided for informational purposes only and without any obligation, whether contractual or otherwise. This document does not constitute an offer to sell, purchase or subscribe to securities or other assets. The information and estimates contained herein do not constitute investment advice or any other form of recommendation. All information has been compiled with care. However, no guarantee is given as to the accuracy and completeness of information and no liability is accepted. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. All authorial rights and other rights, titles and claims (including copyrights, brands, patents, intellectual property rights and other rights) to, for and from all the information in this publication are subject, without restriction, to the applicable provisions and property rights of the registered owners. You do not acquire any rights to the contents. Copyright for contents created and published by Flossbach von Storch AG remains solely with Flossbach von Storch AG. Such content may not be reproduced or used in full or in part without the written approval of Flossbach von Storch AG.

Reprinting or making the content publicly available – in particular by including it in third-party websites – together with reproduction on data storage devices of any kind requires the prior written consent of Flossbach von Storch AG.

© 2024 Flossbach von Storch. All rights reserved.