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Interpreting implied risk-neutral densities: the role of risk premia

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  • Hördahl, Peter
  • Vestin, David

Abstract

This paper examines differences between risk-neutral and objective probability densities of future interest rates. The identification and quantification of these differences are important when risk-neutral densities (RNDs), such as option-implied RNDs, are used as indicators of actual beliefs of investors. We employ a multi-factor essentially affine modeling framework applied to German time-series and cross-section term structure data in order to identify both the risk-neutral and the objective term structure dynamics. We find important differences between risk-neutral and objective distributions due to risk premia in bond prices. Moreover, the estimated premia vary over time in a quantitatively significant way, which implies that the differences between the objective and the risk-neutral distributions also vary over time. We conclude that one should be cautious in interpreting RNDs as representing the true expectations of market participants. The method used in this paper provides an alternative approach to identifying probabilities of future interest rates. JEL Classification: G12, E43

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by European Central Bank in its series Working Paper Series with number 0274.

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Date of creation: Sep 2003
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Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20030274

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Keywords: essentially affine term structure model; risk premia; Risk-neutral densities;

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  1. Darrell Duffie & Rui Kan, 1996. "A Yield-Factor Model Of Interest Rates," Mathematical Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(4), pages 379-406.
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Cited by:
  1. Guillermo Benavides Perales & Israel Felipe Mora Cuevas, 2008. "Parametric vs. non-parametric methods for estimating option implied risk-neutral densities: the case of the exchange rate Mexican peso – US dollar," Ensayos Revista de Economia, Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon, Facultad de Economia, vol. 0(1), pages 33-52, May.
  2. Ascari, Guido & Rankin, Neil, 2004. "Perpetual youth and endogenous labour supply: a problem and a possible solution," Working Paper Series 0346, European Central Bank.
  3. William R. Emmons & Aeimit K. Lakdawala & Christopher J. Neely, 2006. "What are the odds? option-based forecasts of FOMC target changes," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Nov, pages 543-562.

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