We conduct a quantitative analysis of the effects of fiscal conditions and other factors on nominal long-term interest rates based on panel data of 23 member states of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) for the period from 1980 to 2013. In addition to labor productivity, the demographic factor, and inflation rates, our analysis shows that the fiscal balance, national burden ratio, and current account balance (= domestic savings) influence nominal long-term interest rates. The elasticity of nominal long-term interest rates to the fiscal balance vary, depending on the levels of government debt outstanding, which are thought to affect perceptions of fiscal sustainability in the future. This implies that the elasticity of nominal long-term interest rates to the fiscal balance is non-linear depending on the levels of government debt outstanding. We also find that a low national burden ratio nurtures future expectations of fiscal consolidation and thus keeps long-term interest rates at low levels. Furthermore, non-traditional monetary policy measures and the preference for safe assets in recent years are found to keep nominal long-term interest rates at low levels.
Keywords: Long-term interest rate, Fiscal balance, Debt outstanding, Current account, National burden ratio, Fiscal reconstruction, Monetary policy
Views expressed in the paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Bank of Japan or Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies.