Apr 26 2008

From the Help Desk – more on loanable funds and the money market

Carmen submitted the following through the “Econ Help Desk

Please help me with a student question. If the FED pursues expansionary monetary policy, lowering the nominal interest rate in hopes of spurring investment and increasing aggregate demand, how does this connect to the loanable funds market? If nominal interest rates are down, won’t real ones go down too, causing people to save less? In this case, where will the supply of loanable funds to meet investment demand come from?

Below is my reply to Carmen:

Good question… here’s my understanding, so take it as you will…

To expand the money supply the Fed will buy bonds on the open market. This increases demand for bonds, raises their prices, lowering the effective interest rate on bonds, making these securities less attractive to investors, who will sell them back to the Fed in exchange for liquid money that is now part of the money supply.

Investors will put some of their new money into banks, where interest rates are now relatively more attractive than the declining rates on government bonds. Some of the new money created by the Fed’s purchase of bonds therefore ends up in the loanable funds market, shifting the supply of loanable funds out, lowering real interest rates, increasing the quantity demanded of funds for investment and consumption, hence the expansionary impact on Aggregate Demand.

If any readers has another take on the transition from expansionary monetary policy to a decline in the real interest rate in the LF market, please leave your ideas in a comment below.

~Jason Welker


About the author:  Jason Welker teaches International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement Economics at Zurich International School in Switzerland. In addition to publishing various online resources for economics students and teachers, Jason developed the online version of the Economics course for the IB and is has authored two Economics textbooks: Pearson Baccalaureate’s Economics for the IB Diploma and REA’s AP Macroeconomics Crash Course. Jason is a native of the Pacific Northwest of the United States, and is a passionate adventurer, who considers himself a skier / mountain biker who teaches Economics in his free time. He and his wife keep a ski chalet in the mountains of Northern Idaho, which now that they live in the Swiss Alps gets far too little use. Read more posts by this author

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11 Responses to “From the Help Desk – more on loanable funds and the money market”

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