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The Predictive Power of Interest Rates Spread for Economic Activity

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  • Raffaele Passaro

    () (University of Siena)

Abstract

Since the 1980s, economists argued that the spread between the long-and short-term interest rates is a good predictor of future economic activity. Developing Estrella (2006) study, I investigate the ability of the interest rate spread to predict USA and Germany recessions using a probit model. The results show that the slope of the yield curve well predicts recession periods. I also compare the performance of the spread to the performance of the Chicago Federal Nation Index (CFNAI) — a credited leading indicator for the economic activity of the US — finding out that the yield-spread based forecast anticipates by several months the CFNAI forecast.

Suggested Citation

  • Raffaele Passaro, 2007. "The Predictive Power of Interest Rates Spread for Economic Activity," Rivista di Politica Economica, SIPI Spa, vol. 97(6), pages 81-112, November-.
  • Handle: RePEc:rpo:ripoec:v:97:y:2007:i:6:p:81-112
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Arturo Estrella & Mary R. Trubin, 2006. "The yield curve as a leading indicator: some practical issues," Current Issues in Economics and Finance, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, vol. 12(Jul).
    2. Michael Dotsey & Christopher Otrok, 1995. "The rational expectations hypothesis of the term structure, monetary policy, and time-varying term premia," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Win, pages 65-81.
    3. Bernard, Henri & Gerlach, Stefan, 1998. "Does the Term Structure Predict Recessions? The International Evidence," International Journal of Finance & Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 3(3), pages 195-215, July.
    4. Hardouvelis, Gikas A., 1994. "The term structure spread and future changes in long and short rates in the G7 countries: Is there a puzzle?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 255-283, April.
    5. Arturo Estrella, 2005. "Why Does the Yield Curve Predict Output and Inflation?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(505), pages 722-744, July.
    6. Estrella, Arturo & Mishkin, Frederic S., 1997. "The predictive power of the term structure of interest rates in Europe and the United States: Implications for the European Central Bank," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(7), pages 1375-1401, July.
    7. Harvey, Campbell R., 1988. "The real term structure and consumption growth," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 305-333, December.
    8. Michael Dotsey, 1998. "The predictive content of the interest rate term spread for future economic growth," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Sum, pages 31-51.
    9. Zuliu Hu, 1993. "The Yield Curve and Real Activity," IMF Working Papers 93/19, International Monetary Fund.
    10. Joseph G. Haubrich & Ann M. Dombrosky, 1996. "Predicting real growth using the yield curve," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, issue Q I, pages 26-35.
    11. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 1989. "New Indexes of Coincident and Leading Economic Indicators," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1989, Volume 4, pages 351-409 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. 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.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E37 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications
    • E43 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Interest Rates: Determination, Term Structure, and Effects
    • C53 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Forecasting and Prediction Models; Simulation Methods

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