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Information in (and not in) the Term Structure

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  • Gregory R. Duffee

Abstract

Standard approaches to building and estimating dynamic term structure models rely on the assumption that yields can serve as the factors. However, the assumption is neither theoretically necessary nor empirically supported. This article documents that almost half of the variation in bond risk premia cannot be detected using the cross-section of yields. Fluctuations in this hidden component have strong forecast power for both future short-term interest rates and excess bond returns. They are also negatively correlated with aggregate economic activity, but macroeconomic variables explain only a small fraction of variation in the hidden factor. The Author 2011. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Society for Financial Studies. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com., Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Gregory R. Duffee, 2011. "Information in (and not in) the Term Structure," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 24(9), pages 2895-2934.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:rfinst:v:24:y:2011:i:9:p:2895-2934
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/rfs/hhr033
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    1. Gurkaynak, Refet S. & Sack, Brian & Wright, Jonathan H., 2007. "The U.S. Treasury yield curve: 1961 to the present," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(8), pages 2291-2304, November.
    2. Ang, Andrew & Piazzesi, Monika, 2003. "A no-arbitrage vector autoregression of term structure dynamics with macroeconomic and latent variables," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(4), pages 745-787, May.
    3. Gregory R. Duffee, 2002. "Term Premia and Interest Rate Forecasts in Affine Models," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(1), pages 405-443, February.
    4. Greg Duffee, 2010. "Sharpe ratios in term structure models," Economics Working Paper Archive 575, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
    5. Greg Duffee, 2011. "Forecasting with the term structure: The role of no-arbitrage restrictions," Economics Working Paper Archive 576, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
    6. Ilan Cooper, 2009. "Time-Varying Risk Premiums and the Output Gap," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 22(7), pages 2601-2633, July.
    7. Ang, Andrew & Piazzesi, Monika & Wei, Min, 2006. "What does the yield curve tell us about GDP growth?," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 131(1-2), pages 359-403.
    8. Pennacchi, George G, 1991. "Identifying the Dynamics of Real Interest Rates and Inflation: Evidence Using Survey Data," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 4(1), pages 53-86.
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