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

  • Bekaert, Geert
  • Hodrick, Robert J.
  • Marshall, David A.

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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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Financial Economics.

Volume (Year): 44 (1997)
Issue (Month): 3 (June)
Pages: 309-348

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jfinec:v:44:y:1997:i:3:p:309-348
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505576

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  3. 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.
  4. Geert Bekaert & Robert J. Hodrick & David Marshall, 1996. "On biases in tests of the expectations hypothesis of the term structure of interest rates," Working Paper Series, Issues in Financial Regulation WP-96-3, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  5. 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.
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