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A Semi-Parametric Factor Model of Interest Rates and Tests of the Affine Term Structure

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  • Eric Ghysels

    (Pennsylvania State University and CIRANO)

  • Serena Ng

    ()
    (Boston College)

Abstract

Many continuous time term structure of interest rate models assume a factor structure where the drift and volatility functions are affine functions of the state variable process. These models involve very specific parametric choices of factors and functional specifications of the drift and volatility. Moreover, under the affine term structure restrictions not all factors necessarily affect interest rates at all maturities simultaneously. This class of so called affine models covers a wide variety of existing empirical as well as theoretical models in the literature. In this paper we take a very agnostic approach to the specification of these diffusion functions and test implications of the affine term structure restrictions. We do not test a specific model among the class of affine models per se. Instead, the affine term structure restrictions we test are based on the derivatives of the responses of interest rates to the factors. We also test how many and which factors affect a particular rate. These tests are conducted within a framework which models interest rates as functions of "fundamental" factors, and the responses of interest rates to these factors are estimated with non-parametric methods. We consider two sets of factors, one based on key macroeconomic variables, and one based on interest rate spreads. In general, despite their common use we find that the empirical evidence does not support the restrictions imposed by affine models. Besides testing the affine structure restrictions we also uncover a set of fundamental factors which appear remarkably robust in explaining interest rate dynamics at the long and short maturities we consider.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Boston College Department of Economics in its series Boston College Working Papers in Economics with number 403.

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Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: Mar 1998
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:boc:bocoec:403

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  2. Robert A. Jarrow, 2009. "The Term Structure of Interest Rates," Annual Review of Financial Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 69-96, November.
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  10. Pierluigi Balduzzi & Sanjiv Das & Silverio Foresi, 1996. "The Central Tendency: A Second Factor in Bond Yields," New York University, Leonard N. Stern School Finance Department Working Paper Seires 96-12, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business-.
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  14. Courtadon, Georges, 1982. "The Pricing of Options on Default-Free Bonds," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 17(01), pages 75-100, March.
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Cited by:
  1. René Garcia & Eric Ghysels & Éric Renault, 2004. "The Econometrics of Option Pricing," CIRANO Working Papers 2004s-04, CIRANO.
  2. Dong Heon Kim, 2004. "Nonlinearity in the Term Structure," Econometric Society 2004 Far Eastern Meetings 440, Econometric Society.
  3. Teresa Corzo Santamaría & Javier Gómez Biscarri, 2005. "Nonparametric estimation of convergence of interest rates: Effects on bond pricing," Spanish Economic Review, Springer, vol. 7(3), pages 167-190, 09.
  4. Bams, Dennis & Schotman, Peter C., 2003. "Direct estimation of the risk neutral factor dynamics of Gaussian term structure models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 117(1), pages 179-206, November.
  5. Jagannathan, Ravi & Kaplin, Andrew & Sun, Steve, 2003. "An evaluation of multi-factor CIR models using LIBOR, swap rates, and cap and swaption prices," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 116(1-2), pages 113-146.
  6. Chernov, Mikhail & Gallant, A. Ronald & Ghysels, Eric & Tauchen, George, 2002. "Alternative Models for Stock Price Dynamic," Working Papers 02-03, Duke University, Department of Economics.
  7. Massimo Guidolin & Daniel L. Thornton, 2010. "Predictions of short-term rates and the expectations hypothesis," Working Papers 2010-013, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

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