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The yield curve and predicting recessions

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Author Info

  • Jonathan H. Wright

Abstract

The slope of the Treasury yield curve has often been cited as a leading economic indicator, with inversion of the curve being thought of as a harbinger of a recession. In this paper, I consider a number of probit models using the yield curve to forecast recessions. Models that use both the level of the federal funds rate and the term spread give better in-sample fit, and better out-of-sample predictive performance, than models with the term spread alone. There is some evidence that controlling for a term premium proxy as well may also help. I discuss the implications of the current shape of the yield curve in the light of these results, and report results of some tests for structural stability and an evaluation of out-of-sample predictive performance.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series Finance and Economics Discussion Series with number 2006-07.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2006-07

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Related research

Keywords: Economic indicators ; Economic forecasting ; Interest rates;

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References

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  1. Andrew Ang & Monika Piazzesi & Min Wei, 2004. "What Does the Yield Curve Tell us about GDP Growth?," NBER Working Papers 10672, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Arturo Estrella & Anthony P. Rodrigues & Sebastian Schich, 2003. "How Stable is the Predictive Power of the Yield Curve? Evidence from Germany and the United States," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(3), pages 629-644, August.
  3. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 1989. "New Indexes of Coincident and Leading Economic Indicators," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1989, Volume 4, pages 351-409 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Donald W.K. Andrews, 1990. "Tests for Parameter Instability and Structural Change with Unknown Change Point," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 943, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  5. Rossi, Barbara & Giacomini, Raffaella, 2005. "How Stable is the Forecasting Performance of the Yield Curve for Outpot Growth?," Working Papers 05-08, Duke University, Department of Economics.
  6. Shiller, Robert & Campbell, John, 1991. "Yield Spreads and Interest Rate Movements: A Bird's Eye View," Scholarly Articles 3221490, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  7. Arturo Estrella & Frederic S. Mishkin, 1995. "Predicting U.S. Recessions: Financial Variables as Leading Indicators," NBER Working Papers 5379, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Estrella, Arturo & Hardouvelis, Gikas A, 1991. " The Term Structure as a Predictor of Real Economic Activity," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 46(2), pages 555-76, June.
  9. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 1993. "A Procedure for Predicting Recessions with Leading Indicators: Econometric Issues and Recent Experience," NBER Chapters, in: Business Cycles, Indicators and Forecasting, pages 95-156 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. James D. Hamilton & Dong Heon Kim, 2000. "A Re-examination of the Predictability of Economic Activity Using the Yield Spread," NBER Working Papers 7954, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. John H. Cochrane & Monika Piazzesi, 2002. "Bond Risk Premia," NBER Working Papers 9178, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Poirier, Dale J & Ruud, Paul A, 1988. "Probit with Dependent Observations," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(4), pages 593-614, October.
  13. Gourieroux Christian & Monfort Alain & Trognon A, 1982. "Estimation and test in probit models with serial correlation," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Couverture Orange) 8220, CEPREMAP.
  14. Fama, Eugene F & Bliss, Robert R, 1987. "The Information in Long-Maturity Forward Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 680-92, September.
  15. Arturo Estrella & Frederic S. Mishkin, 1996. "The yield curve as a predictor of U.S. recessions," Current Issues in Economics and Finance, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, vol. 2(Jun).
  16. Arturo Estrella & Anthony P. Rodrigues, 1998. "Consistent covariance matrix estimation in probit models with autocorrelated errors," Staff Reports 39, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  17. Don H. Kim & Jonathan H. Wright, 2005. "An arbitrage-free three-factor term structure model and the recent behavior of long-term yields and distant-horizon forward rates," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2005-33, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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  1. > Econometrics > Forecasting > Forecasting Economic Activity Using Financial Variables
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