经济学人:货币政策 或紧或松没有关系
日期:2014-10-23 14:58



Monetary policy
Tight, loose, irrelevant
Interest rates do not seem to affect investment as economists assume
IT IS Economics 101. If central bankers want to spur economic activity, they cut interest rates. If they want to dampen it, they raise them. The assumption is that, as it becomes cheaper or more expensive for businesses and households to borrow, they will adjust their spending accordingly. But for businesses in America, at least, a newstudy* suggests that the accepted wisdom on monetary policy is broadly (but not entirely) wrong.

Using data stretching back to 1952, the paper concludes that market interest rates, which central banks aim to influence when they set their policy rates, play some role in how much firms invest, but not much. Other factors—most notably how profitable a firm is and how well its shares do—are far more important (see chart). A government that wants to pep up the economy, says S.P. Kothari of the Sloan School of Management, one of the authors, would have more luck with other measures, such as lower taxes or less onerous regulation.
使用1952年以来的数据,这篇论文得出这样一个结论:央行希望通过制定利率政策来控制市场利率,这个市场利率对企业投资具有一定影响作用,但作用并不大。而其他因素,尤其是企业获利能力和股票收益情况,则更加显著地影响投资。其中一名来自斯隆管理学院的作者S.P. Kothari说道:如果政府希望刺激经济,应该多采取除货币政策以外的其他措施,比如降低企业税收、减少企业法律义务。
Establishing what drives business investment is difficult, not least because it expands and contracts far more dramatically than the economy as a whole. These shifts were particularly manic in the late 1950s (both up and down), mid-1960s (up), and 2000s (down, up, then down again). Overall, investment has been in slight decline since the early 1980s.
Having sifted through decades of data, however, the authors conclude that neither volatility in the financial markets nor credit-default swaps, a measure of corporate credit risk that tends to influence the rates firms pay, has much impact. In fact, investment often rises when interest rates go up and volatility increases.
Investment grows most quickly, though, in response to a surge in profits and drops with bad news. These ups and downs suggest shifts in investment go too far and are often ill-timed. At any rate, they do little good: big cuts can substantially boost profits, but only briefly; big increases in investment slightly decrease profits.
Companies, Mr Kothari says, tend to dwell too much on recent experience when deciding how much to invest and too little on how changing circumstances may affect future returns. This is particularly true in difficult times. Appealing opportunities may exist, and they may be all the more attractive because of low interest rates. That should matter—but the data suggest it does not.


1.seem to 似乎,好象;看起来

Some people seem to be always lucky.

I seem to see someone going into my house.

2.monetary policy 货币政策

So that will be the monetary policy tool.

We should recover monetary policy from the dustbin and put it on the table.

3.interest rate 利率

The Federal Reserve lowered interest rates by half a point.
They could borrow at an interest rate only a bit over the Treasury rate and then accumulate large portfolios of mortgages and mortgage-backed securities earning the market rate.

4.tend to 趋向;注意;易于

The particles tend to unite.

We all tend to like those similar to us.

  • reserven. 预备品,贮存,候补 n. 克制,含蓄 vt. 保留
  • slightlyadv. 些微地,苗条地
  • treasuryn. 国库,宝库 (大写)财政部,国债
  • irrelevantadj. 不恰当的,无关系的,不相干的
  • appealingadj. 引起兴趣的,动人的
  • profitableadj. 有益的,有用的
  • monetaryadj. 货币的,金融的
  • overalladj. 全部的,全体的,一切在内的 adv. 总的来说
  • declinen. 衰微,跌落; 晚年 v. 降低,婉谢
  • onerousadj. 繁重的,麻烦的