Testing for asymmetry in the link between the yield spread and output in the G-7 countries
The difference in yields between long-term and short-term securities has been used both as a business cycle leading indicator and as an indicator of the current impact of monetary policy. This paper tests for an asymmetry, in the form of a threshold effect, such that the impact of the yield spread on output is greater on one side of the threshold than the other. The test allows for an unknown threshold, and the asymptotic distribution of the resulting statistic is obtained by the method of Hansen (1996). We test using data from each of the G-7 countries, and find that, while the yield spread does generally show a signifcant link with output, only in the U.S. and Canada is there strong evidence of an asymmetry of this type. The evidence of asymmetry that we find suggests a high value of the threshold in both the U.S. and Canada.
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