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The information content of the term structure of interest rates


  • Petko Kalev
  • Brett Inder


This paper presents the results of an alternative test of the rational expectations theory of the term structure of interest rates. Other researchers have also examined the validity of the expectations hypothesis of term structure. While there is more often rejection of the expectations hypothesis, no other theory (data-consistent with the entire yield curve) provides an empirically adequate explanation of this phenomenon. The study considers postwar US pure discount (zero coupons) bond yields with various maturities, from one month to 60 months. Based on the ex post formation of rational expectations, the expectations error is quantified and the level of truth of the expectations hypothesis tested, that is, the strength of the departure of the yield curve from the expectations theory. The results suggest that a significant amount of information available at no cost to market agents is not incorporated in forming people's expectations.

Suggested Citation

  • Petko Kalev & Brett Inder, 2006. "The information content of the term structure of interest rates," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(1), pages 33-45.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:applec:v:38:y:2006:i:1:p:33-45
    DOI: 10.1080/00036840500365967

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Mao-Wei Hung & Jr-Yan Wang, 2011. "Loss aversion and the term structure of interest rates," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(29), pages 4623-4640.
    2. James Kung, 2008. "Dynamic strategies for fixed-income investment," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(10), pages 1341-1354.
    3. Arielle Beyaert & Juan Jose Perez-Castejon, 2009. "Markov-switching models, rational expectations and the term structure of interest rates," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(3), pages 399-412.
    4. María O González & Frank Skinner & Samuel Agyei-Ampomah, 2013. "Term structure information and bond strategies," Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting, Springer, vol. 41(1), pages 53-74, July.
    5. Shigeyuki Hamori & Naoko Hamori, 2009. "International term structure of interest rates in the Euro area," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(11), pages 1113-1116.
    6. Lenz, Rainer, 2010. "Yield Curve Analysis: Choosing the optimal maturity date of investments and financing," MPRA Paper 27781, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Lenz, Rainer, 2010. "Analyse der Renditestrukturkurve: Zur Laufzeitenstruktur von Investitions- und Finanzierungsentscheidungen
      [Yield curve analysis]
      ," MPRA Paper 26621, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Marco Matsumura & Ajax Moreira, 2011. "Assessing macro influence on Brazilian yield curve with affine models," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(15), pages 1847-1863.
    9. Costanza Torricelli & Marianna Brunetti, 2006. "Economic activity and Recession Probabilities: spread predictive power in Italy," Computing in Economics and Finance 2006 350, Society for Computational Economics.

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