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What does the Yield Curve imply about Investor Expectations?

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Author Info

  • Eric Gaus

    ()
    (Ursinus College)

  • Arunima Sinha

    ()
    (Santa Clara Univerisity)

Abstract

We find that investors' expectations of U.S. nominal yields, at different maturities and forecast horizons, exhibit significant time-variation during the Great Moderation. Nominal zero-coupon bond yields for the U.S. are used to fit the yield curve using a latent factor model. In the benchmark model, the VAR process used to characterize the conditional forecasts of yields has constant coefficients. The alternative class of models assume that investors use adaptive learning, in the form of a constant gain algorithm and different endogenous gain algorithms, which we propose here. Our results indicate that incorporating time-varying coefficients in the conditional forecasts of yields lead to large improvements in forecasting performance, at different maturities and horizons. These improvements are even more substantial during the Great Recession. We conclude that our results provide strong empirical motivation to use the class of adaptive learning models considered here, for modeling potential investor expectation formation in periods of low and high volatility, and the endogenous learning model leads to significant improvements over the benchmark in periods of high volatility. A policy experiment, which simulates a surprise shock to the level of the yield curve, illustrates that the conditional forecasts of yields implied by the learning models do significantly better at capturing the response observed in the realized yield curve, relative to the constant-coefficients model. Furthermore, the endogenous learning algorithm does well at matching the time-series patterns observed in expected excess returns implied by the Survey of Professional Forecasters.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Ursinus College, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 14-02.

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Length: pages
Date of creation: 10 Apr 2014
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:urs:urswps:14-02

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Postal: Ursinus College 601 East Main St. Collegeville, PA 19426
Web page: http://webpages.ursinus.edu/ecba/
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Related research

Keywords: Adaptive learning; Investor beliefs; Monetary policy; Excess returns;

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  1. Milani, Fabio, 2007. "Expectations, learning and macroeconomic persistence," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(7), pages 2065-2082, October.
  2. Dewachter, Hans & Lyrio, Marco, 2006. "Macro Factors and the Term Structure of Interest Rates," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 38(1), pages 119-140, February.
  3. Fuhrer, Jeffrey C, 1996. "Monetary Policy Shifts and Long-Term Interest Rates," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(4), pages 1183-1209, November.
  4. Diebold, Francis X. & Li, Canlin, 2003. "Forecasting the term structure of government bond yields," CFS Working Paper Series 2004/09, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  5. Marcet, A. & Nicolini, J.P., 1997. "Recurrent Hyperinflations and Learning," Papers 9721, Centro de Estudios Monetarios Y Financieros-.
  6. Francis X. Diebold & Glenn D. Rudebusch & S. Boragan Aruoba, 2004. "The Macroeconomy and the Yield Curve: A Dynamic Latent Factor Approach," NBER Working Papers 10616, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Eric Gaus, 2013. "Time-Varying Parameters and Endogenous Learning Algorithms," Working Papers 13-02, Ursinus College, Department of Economics.
  8. Kozicki, Sharon & Tinsley, P. A., 2001. "Shifting endpoints in the term structure of interest rates," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 613-652, June.
  9. Thomas Laubach & Robert J. Tetlow & John C. Williams, 2007. "Learning and the Role of Macroeconomic Factors in the Term Structure of Interest Rates," 2007 Meeting Papers 476, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  10. Stefano Eusepi & Bruce Preston, 2011. "Expectations, Learning, and Business Cycle Fluctuations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(6), pages 2844-72, October.
  11. Glenn D. Rudebusch & Tao Wu, 2007. "Accounting for a Shift in Term Structure Behavior with No-Arbitrage and Macro-Finance Models," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 39(2-3), pages 395-422, 03.
  12. Bianchi, Francesco & Mumtaz, Haroon & Surico, Paolo, 2009. "The great moderation of the term structure of UK interest rates," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(6), pages 856-871, September.
  13. Nelson, Charles R & Siegel, Andrew F, 1987. "Parsimonious Modeling of Yield Curves," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 60(4), pages 473-89, October.
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