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Ambiguity Aversion and the Term Structure of Interest Rates

  • Patrick Gagliardini
  • Paolo Porchia
  • Fabio Trojani

This paper studies the term structure implications of a simple structural model in which the representative agent displays ambiguity aversion, modeled by Multiple Priors Recursive Utility. Bond excess returns reflect a premium for ambiguity, which is observationally distinct from the risk premium of affine yield curve models. The ambiguity premium can be large even in the simplest log-utility setting and is also nonzero for stochastic factors that have a zero risk premium. A calibrated low-dimensional two-factor model with ambiguity is able to reproduce the deviations from the expectations hypothesis documented in the literature, without modifying in a substantial way the nonlinear mean-reversion dynamics of the short interest rate. Moreover, the model does not imply any apparent trade-off between fitting the first and second moments of the yield curve. The Author 2008. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Society for Financial Studies. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oxfordjournals.org., Oxford University Press.

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Article provided by Society for Financial Studies in its journal The Review of Financial Studies.

Volume (Year): 22 (2009)
Issue (Month): 10 (October)
Pages: 4157-4188

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Handle: RePEc:oup:rfinst:v:22:y:2009:i:10:p:4157-4188
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  1. Philip H. Dybvig, Chi-fu Huang, 1988. "Nonnegative Wealth, Absence of Arbitrage, and Feasible Consumption Plans," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 1(4), pages 377-401.
  2. Campbell, John Y & Shiller, Robert J, 1991. "Yield Spreads and Interest Rate Movements: A Bird's Eye View," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(3), pages 495-514, May.
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  4. Wachter, Jessica A., 2006. "A consumption-based model of the term structure of interest rates," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 365-399, February.
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  7. Jun Liu, 2005. "An Equilibrium Model of Rare-Event Premia and Its Implication for Option Smirks," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 18(1), pages 131-164.
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  10. Fama, Eugene F & Bliss, Robert R, 1987. "The Information in Long-Maturity Forward Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 680-92, September.
  11. Pascal J. Maenhout, 2004. "Robust Portfolio Rules and Asset Pricing," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 17(4), pages 951-983.
  12. Cox, John C & Ingersoll, Jonathan E, Jr & Ross, Stephen A, 1985. "An Intertemporal General Equilibrium Model of Asset Prices," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(2), pages 363-84, March.
  13. Zengjing Chen & Larry G. Epstein, 2000. "Ambiguity, risk and asset returns in continuous time," RCER Working Papers 474, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  14. Evan W. Anderson & Lars Peter Hansen & Thomas J. Sargent, 2003. "A Quartet of Semigroups for Model Specification, Robustness, Prices of Risk, and Model Detection," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(1), pages 68-123, 03.
  15. Longstaff, Francis A & Schwartz, Eduardo S, 1992. " Interest Rate Volatility and the Term Structure: A Two-Factor General Equilibrium Model," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(4), pages 1259-82, September.
  16. Gilboa, Itzhak & Schmeidler, David, 1989. "Maxmin expected utility with non-unique prior," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 141-153, April.
  17. Trojani, Fabio & Vanini, Paolo, 2002. "A note on robustness in Merton's model of intertemporal consumption and portfolio choice," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 423-435, March.
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