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Predictions of short-term rates and the expectations hypothesis

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  • Guidolin, Massimo
  • Thornton, Daniel L.

Abstract

This paper emphasizes that traditional tests of the EH are based on two assumptions: the expectations hypothesis (EH) per se and an assumption about the expectations generating process (EGP) for the short-term rate. Arguing that conventional tests of the EH need to assume EGPs that may be significantly at odds with the true EGP, we investigate this possibility by analyzing the out-of-sample predictive performances of several models for predicting interest rates, including a few models which assume that the EH holds in its functional form that relates long- to short-term yields. Using US riskless yield data for a 1970–2016 monthly sample and testing methods that take into account the parameter uncertainty, the null hypothesis of an equal predictive accuracy of each model relative to the random walk alternative is hardly ever rejected at intermediate and long horizons. This confirms that, at least at a practical level, the main difficulty with the EH is represented by the effective prediction of short-term rates. We discuss the relevance of these findings for central banks’ use of forward guidance.

Suggested Citation

  • Guidolin, Massimo & Thornton, Daniel L., 2018. "Predictions of short-term rates and the expectations hypothesis," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 636-664.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:intfor:v:34:y:2018:i:4:p:636-664
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ijforecast.2018.03.006
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    3. Daniel L. Thornton, 2018. "Greenspan's Conundrum and the Fed's Ability to Affect Long‐Term Yields," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 50(2-3), pages 513-543, March.
    4. Massimo Guidolin & Manuela Pedio, 2019. "Forecasting and Trading Monetary Policy Effects on the Riskless Yield Curve with Regime Switching Nelson†Siegel Models," Working Papers 639, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
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    7. Peter Tulip & Stephanie Wallace, 2012. "Estimates of Uncertainty around the RBA's Forecasts," RBA Research Discussion Papers rdp2012-07, Reserve Bank of Australia.
    8. Guidolin, Massimo & Pedio, Manuela, 2019. "Forecasting and trading monetary policy effects on the riskless yield curve with regime switching Nelson–Siegel models," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 1-1.
    9. Massimo Guidolin & Manuela Pedio, 2019. "Forecasting and Trading Monetary Policy Switching Nelson-Siegel Models," BAFFI CAREFIN Working Papers 19106, BAFFI CAREFIN, Centre for Applied Research on International Markets Banking Finance and Regulation, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy.
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