01 July 2016

2015/16 Rybczynski Prize Essay

Labour power sets the neutral real rate

Toby Nangle, Global Co-Head of Asset Allocation, Columbia Threadneedle Investments

The recent remarkably low interest rates have puzzled economists, businesses and investors alike. But while the move on the part of some central banks into negative nominal territory breaks new historical ground, the decline is but the latest development along a trajectory that had been in train for almost three decades prior to the Global Financial Crisis. In this essay, Toby Nangle argues that the role of globalisation and the associated collapse in labour power in the west, turbo-charged by domestic demographic developments, has played a significant role and that the factors that have been pulling rates down could be close to turning.