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On biases in tests of the expectations hypothesis of the term structure of interest rates

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  • Geert Bekaert
  • Robert J. Hodrick
  • David Marshall

Abstract

We document extreme bias and dispersion in the small sample distributions of five standard regression tests of the expectations hypothesis of the term structure of interest rates. These biases derive from the extreme persistence in short interest rates. We derive approximate analytic expressions for these biases, and we characterize the small-sample distributions of these test statistics under a simple first-order autoregressive data generating process for the short rate. The biases are also present when the short rate is modeled with a more realistic regime-switching process. The differences between the small-sample distributions of test statistics and the asymptotic distributions partially reconcile the different inferences drawn when alternative tests are used to evaluate the expectations hypothesis. In general, the test statistics reject the expectations hypothesis more strongly and uniformly when they are evaluated using the small-sample distributions, as compared to the asymptotic distributions.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in its series Working Paper Series, Issues in Financial Regulation with number WP-96-3.

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Date of creation: 1996
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedhfi:wp-96-3

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Keywords: Rational expectations (Economic theory) ; Interest rates;

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References

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  1. Hodrick, Robert J, 1992. "Dividend Yields and Expected Stock Returns: Alternative Procedures for Inference and Measurement," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 5(3), pages 357-86.
  2. Philippe Jorion & Frederic Mishkin, 1991. "A Multi-Country Comparison of Term Structure Forecasts at Long Horizons," NBER Working Papers 3574, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Bera, Anil K. & Jarque, Carlos M., 1982. "Model specification tests : A simultaneous approach," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 59-82, October.
  4. Geert Bekaert & Campbell R. Harvey, 1995. "Emerging Equity Market Volatility," NBER Working Papers 5307, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Graham Elliott & James H. Stock, 1992. "Inference in Time Series Regression When the Order of Integration of a Regressor is Unknown," NBER Technical Working Papers 0122, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Tim Bollerslev, 1986. "Generalized autoregressive conditional heteroskedasticity," EERI Research Paper Series EERI RP 1986/01, Economics and Econometrics Research Institute (EERI), Brussels.
  7. repec:cup:etheor:v:10:y:1994:i:3-4:p:672-700 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Richardson, Matthew & Stock, James H., 1989. "Drawing inferences from statistics based on multiyear asset returns," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 323-348, December.
  9. Geert Bekaert & Robert J. Hodrick & David A. Marshall, 1996. "On Biases in Tests of the Expecations Hypothesis of the Term Structure Of Interest Rates," NBER Technical Working Papers 0191, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Donald W.K. Andrews, 1988. "Heteroskedasticity and Autocorrelation Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimation," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 877R, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University, revised Jul 1989.
  11. Gregory Mankiw, N. & Shapiro, Matthew D., 1986. "Do we reject too often? : Small sample properties of tests of rational expectations models," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 139-145.
  12. Hamilton, James D., 1988. "Rational-expectations econometric analysis of changes in regime : An investigation of the term structure of interest rates," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 12(2-3), pages 385-423.
  13. Hardouvelis, Gikas A., 1994. "The term structure spread and future changes in long and short rates in the G7 countries: Is there a puzzle?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 255-283, April.
  14. Campbell, John Y & Shiller, Robert J, 1991. "Yield Spreads and Interest Rate Movements: A Bird's Eye View," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(3), pages 495-514, May.
  15. White, Halbert, 1982. "Maximum Likelihood Estimation of Misspecified Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 1-25, January.
  16. Engle, Robert F. & Ng, Victor K. & Rothschild, Michael, 1990. "Asset pricing with a factor-arch covariance structure : Empirical estimates for treasury bills," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 45(1-2), pages 213-237.
  17. White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-38, May.
  18. Hansen, Lars Peter, 1982. "Large Sample Properties of Generalized Method of Moments Estimators," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 1029-54, July.
  19. Cumby, Robert E & Huizinga, John, 1992. "Testing the Autocorrelation Structure of Disturbances in Ordinary Least Squares and Instrumental Variables Regressions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(1), pages 185-95, January.
  20. Matthew Richardson & James H. Stock, 1990. "Drawing Inferences From Statistics Based on Multi-Year Asset Returns," NBER Working Papers 3335, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Bollerslev, Tim & Chou, Ray Y. & Kroner, Kenneth F., 1992. "ARCH modeling in finance : A review of the theory and empirical evidence," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 52(1-2), pages 5-59.
  22. Newey, Whitney K & West, Kenneth D, 1987. "A Simple, Positive Semi-definite, Heteroskedasticity and Autocorrelation Consistent Covariance Matrix," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(3), pages 703-08, May.
  23. Gray, Stephen F., 1996. "Modeling the conditional distribution of interest rates as a regime-switching process," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 27-62, September.
  24. Stambaugh, Robert F., 1988. "The information in forward rates : Implications for models of the term structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 41-70, May.
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