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Yield curve forecasts of inflation: a cautionary tale

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  • Stephen R. Blough

Abstract

Long-term interest rates that are unusually high relative to shortterm interest rates are often seen to reflect market expectations of increasing inflation. Given that the term structure of interest rates (also called the yield curve) reacts to inflation expectations, does it do so in a reasonable manner? Does the term structure embody inflation forecasts that bear a sensible relationship to the iiaflation that in fact occurs? ; This article reviews the theoretical link between the term structure and inflation expectations, and then it provides empirical evidence on the link in light of the theory. It finds little evidence of a link between the term structure and future inflation at the horizon chosen for study, the relationship between one- and two-year interest rates and the one-year ahead change in the one-year inflation.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephen R. Blough, 1994. "Yield curve forecasts of inflation: a cautionary tale," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue May, pages 3-16.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedbne:y:1994:i:may:p:3-16
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    File URL: http://www.bostonfed.org/economic/neer/neer1994/neer394a.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Froot, Kenneth A, 1989. " New Hope for the Expectations Hypothesis of the Term Structure of Interest Rates," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 44(2), pages 283-305, June.
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    3. Engle, Robert F & Ng, Victor K, 1993. "Time-Varying Volatility and the Dynamic Behavior of the Term Structure," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 25(3), pages 336-349, August.
    4. N. Gregory Mankiw & Jeffrey A. Miron, 1986. "The Changing Behavior of the Term Structure of Interest Rates," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 101(2), pages 211-228.
    5. Fama, Eugene F., 1990. "Term-structure forecasts of interest rates, inflation and real returns," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 59-76, January.
    6. J. M. Culbertson, 1957. "The Term Structure of Interest Rates," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(4), pages 485-517.
    7. Frederic S. Mishkin, 1990. "The Information in the Longer Maturity Term Structure about Future Inflation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(3), pages 815-828.
    8. Cecchetti, Stephen G, 1988. "The Case of the Negative Nominal Interest Rates: New Estimates of the Term Structure of Interest Rates during the Great Depression," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(6), pages 1111-1141, December.
    9. Newey, Whitney & West, Kenneth, 2014. "A simple, positive semi-definite, heteroscedasticity and autocorrelation consistent covariance matrix," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 33(1), pages 125-132.
    10. Shiller, Robert J. & Huston McCulloch, J., 1990. "The term structure of interest rates," Handbook of Monetary Economics,in: B. M. Friedman & F. H. Hahn (ed.), Handbook of Monetary Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 13, pages 627-722 Elsevier.
    11. Baum, Christopher F & Thies, Clifford F, 1992. "On the Construction of Monthly Term Structures of U.S. Interest Rates, 1919-1930," Computer Science in Economics & Management, Kluwer;Society for Computational Economics, vol. 5(3), pages 221-246, August.
    12. McCulloch, J Huston, 1975. "The Tax-Adjusted Yield Curve," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 30(3), pages 811-830, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ravenna, Federico & Seppälä, Juha, 2006. "Monetary policy and rejections of the expectations hypothesis," Research Discussion Papers 25/2006, Bank of Finland.
    2. Seppälä, Juha, 2000. "The term structure of real interest rates : Theory and evidence form UK index-linked bonds," Research Discussion Papers 22/2000, Bank of Finland.
    3. Yash P. Mehra, 1997. "The bond rate and actual future inflation," Working Paper 97-03, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
    4. Christopher Ragan, "undated". "Deriving Agents' Inflation Forecasts from the Term Structure of Interest Rates," Staff Working Papers 95-1, Bank of Canada.
    5. Rudebusch, Glenn D., 1995. "Federal Reserve interest rate targeting, rational expectations, and the term structure," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 245-274, April.
    6. Seppala, Juha, 2004. "The term structure of real interest rates: theory and evidence from UK index-linked bonds," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(7), pages 1509-1549, October.
    7. Sharon Kozicki, 2001. "Why do central banks monitor so many inflation indicators?," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Q III, pages 5-42.
    8. Sharon Kozicki, 1997. "Predicting real growth and inflation with the yield spread," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Q IV, pages 39-57.
    9. Crockett, Jean A., 1998. "Rational expectations, inflation and the nominal interest rate," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 83(1-2), pages 349-363.

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    Keywords

    Inflation (Finance) ; Interest rates;

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