IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Cracking the Conundrum

  • David K. Backus

    (New York University)

  • Jonathan H. Wright

    (Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System)

From 2004 to 2006 the Federal Open Market Committee raised the target federal funds rate by 4.25 percentage points, yet long-maturity yields and forward rates fell. We consider several possible explanations for this conundrum of rising short-term and falling long-term interest rates. The most likely, in our view, is a fall in the term premium, probably associated with some combination of diminished macroeconomic and financial market volatility, more predictable monetary policy, and the state of the business cycle.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Article provided by Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution in its journal Brookings Papers on Economic Activity.

Volume (Year): 38 (2007)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 293-329

in new window

Handle: RePEc:bin:bpeajo:v:38:y:2007:i:2007-1:p:293-329
Contact details of provider: Postal: 1775 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington DC 20036
Phone: (202) 797-6000
Fax: (202) 797-6004
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Dai, Qiang & Singleton, Kenneth J., 2002. "Expectation puzzles, time-varying risk premia, and affine models of the term structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(3), pages 415-441, March.
  2. Bekaert, Geert & Cho, Seonghoon & Moreno Ibáñez, Antonio, 2006. "New-Keynesian Macroeconomics and the Term Structure," CEPR Discussion Papers 5956, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Don H. Kim & Athanasios Orphanides, 2005. "Term structure estimation with survey data on interest rate forecasts," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2005-48, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  4. Randall S. Kroszner, 2006. "Why are yield curves so flat and long rates so low globally? a speech at the Bankers' Association for Finance and Trade, New York, New York, June 15, 2006," Speech 219, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  5. John H. Cochrane & Monika Piazzesi, 2002. "Bond Risk Premia," NBER Working Papers 9178, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Ben S. Bernanke & Vincent R. Reinhart & Brian P. Sack, 2004. "Monetary Policy Alternatives at the Zero Bound: An Empirical Assessment," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 35(2), pages 1-100.
  7. Gallmeyer, Michael F. & Hollifield, Burton & Zin, Stanley E., 2005. "Taylor rules, McCallum rules and the term structure of interest rates," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(5), pages 921-950, July.
  8. Francis E. Warnock & Veronica C. Warnock, 2005. "International capital flows and U.S. interest rates," International Finance Discussion Papers 840, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  9. Glenn D. Rudebusch & Eric T. Swanson & Tao Wu, 2006. "The bond yield "conundrum" from a macro-finance perspective," Working Paper Series 2006-16, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  10. Gregory R. Duffee, 2002. "Term Premia and Interest Rate Forecasts in Affine Models," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(1), pages 405-443, 02.
  11. Andrew Ang & Geert Bekaert, 2004. "The term structure of real rates and expected inflation," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Mar.
  12. Refet S. Gürkaynak & Brian Sack & Eric Swanson, 2005. "The Sensitivity of Long-Term Interest Rates to Economic News: Evidence and Implications for Macroeconomic Models," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 425-436, March.
  13. Darrell Duffie & Rui Kan, 1996. "A Yield-Factor Model Of Interest Rates," Mathematical Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(4), pages 379-406.
  14. Meredith J. Beechey, 2006. "A closer look at the sensitivity puzzle: the sensitivity of expected future short rates and term premia to macroeconomic news," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2007-06, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  15. Shiller, Robert J, 1979. "The Volatility of Long-Term Interest Rates and Expectations Models of the Term Structure," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1190-1219, December.
  16. Refet S. Gürkaynak & Brian P. Sack & Jonathan H. Wright, 2006. "The U.S. Treasury yield curve: 1961 to the present," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2006-28, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  17. Ang, Andrew & Piazzesi, Monika, 2003. "A no-arbitrage vector autoregression of term structure dynamics with macroeconomic and latent variables," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(4), pages 745-787, May.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bin:bpeajo:v:38:y:2007:i:2007-1:p:293-329. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jennifer Ambrosino)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.