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The Term Spread International Evidence of Non-Linear Adjustment

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  • Alfred A. Haug

    (York University, Canada)

  • Pierre L. Siklos

    (Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada)

Abstract

This study tests whether changes in the short-term interest rate can best be modelled in a nonlinear fashion. We argue that there are good theoretical and empirical reasons for adopting this strategy. Using monthly data from several industrialized countries, namely Canada, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, UK, and US, we show that the short-term interest rate movements are better explained, usually via the exponential smooth transition autoregression (ESTR). Unlike the existing literature on non-linear estimation, we consider a number of candidates for the transition variable. These include: an error correction term, estimated from an underlying cointegrating relationship predicted by the expectations hypothesis, the US spread, the domestic spread, inflation and output growth forecasts, and deviations from an inflation target in the case of Canada, the UK and Sweden. The sample spans the period from 1960-1998. We cannot reject non-linearity in the behavior of interest rate changes most often when the (lagged) domestic spread serves as the transition variable. In the case of the inflation targeting countries in our sample, the most appropriate transition variable can be the deviation from the publicly announced inflation target. We supplement estimates with extensive diagnostic testing to ensure that we can reject the linear alternative with reasonable confidence. We believe that changes in central bank policies and in the reaction of market participants over time to such changes argue in favor of the non-linear estimation approach. We would also argue that any model of the term spread over a fairly long span of time necessitates resort to non-linear estimation methods.

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File URL: http://dept.econ.yorku.ca/research/workingPapers/working_papers/Haug_Siklos.pdf
File Function: Revised version, 2004
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by York University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2002_08.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2002
Date of revision: Jul 2004
Handle: RePEc:yca:wpaper:2002_08

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