Skip to main content

Interest on Reserves

Working Paper 211 | Published October 1, 1984

Download PDF


Thomas J. Sargent New York University and Hoover Institution
Interest on Reserves


In a general equilibrium setting, we study versions of the proposal to pay interest on reserves at the market rate. We argue that the proposal makes the demand for total reserves indeterminate whether interest is paid on total reserves or on required reserves only. One consequence is that tax financing of the proposal gives rise to a continuum of equilibria, equilibria which differ in real returns and consumption allocations. Another consequence is that an attempt to finance the proposal through earnings on the central bank’s portfolio either gives rise to an equilibrium with a zero nominal interest rate or fails to give rise to an equilibrium.