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A Scorecard for Indexed Government Debt

In: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1996, Volume 11

  • John Y. Campbell
  • Robert J. Shiller

Within the last five years, Canada, Sweden and New Zealand have joined the ranks of the United Kingdom and other countries in issuing government bonds that are indexed to inflation. Some observers of the experience in these countries have argued that the United States should follow suit. This paper provides an overview of the issues surrounding debt indexation, and it tries to answer three empirical questions about indexed debt. First, how different would the returns on indexed bonds be from the returns on existing US debt instruments? Second, how would indexed bonds affect the government's average financing costs? Third, how might the Federal Reserve be able to use the information contained in the prices of indexed bonds to help formulate monetary policy? The paper concludes with a more speculative discussion of the possible consequences of increased use of indexed debt contracts by the private sector.

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This chapter was published in:
  • Ben S. Bernanke & Julio J. Rotemberg, 1996. "NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1996, Volume 11," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number bern96-1, Abril.
  • This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 11029.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:11029
    Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
    Phone: 617-868-3900
    Web page: http://www.nber.org
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    1. John Y. Campbell & John Ammer, 1991. "What Moves the Stock and Bond Markets? A Variance Decomposition for Long-Term Asset Returns," NBER Working Papers 3760, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. John Geanakoplos & Martin Shubik, 1989. "The Capital Asset Pricing Model as a General Equilibrium with Incomplete Markets," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 913, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    3. Mishkin, Frederic S., 1990. "What does the term structure tell us about future inflation?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 77-95, January.
    4. John Y. Campbell, 1993. "Understanding Risk and Return," NBER Working Papers 4554, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Robert B. Barsky & Miles S. Kimball & F. Thomas Juster & Matthew D. Shapiro, 1995. "Preference Parameters and Behavioral Heterogeneity: An Experimental Approach in the Health and Retirement Survey," NBER Working Papers 5213, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. 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.
    7. Frederic S. Mishkin, 1991. "The Information in the Longer Maturity Term Structure about Future Inflation," NBER Working Papers 3126, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Fama, Eugene F & French, Kenneth R, 1992. " The Cross-Section of Expected Stock Returns," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(2), pages 427-65, June.
    9. David G. Barr & John Y. Campbell, 1995. "Inflation, Real Interest Rates and the Bond Market: A Study of UK Nominal Index-Linked Government Bond Prices," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1731, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    10. David Card & Dean Hyslop, 1996. "Does Inflation "Grease the Wheels of the Labor Market"?," NBER Working Papers 5538, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Fischer, Stanley & Summers, Lawrence H, 1989. "Should Governments Learn to Live with Inflation?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(2), pages 382-87, May.
    12. Boudoukh, Jacob & Whitelaw, Robert F, 1993. "Liquidity as a Choice Variable: A Lesson from the Japanese Government Bond Market," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 6(2), pages 265-92.
    13. Robert J. Barro, 1995. "Optimal Debt Management," NBER Working Papers 5327, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. John Y. Campbell & Robert J. Shiller, 1989. "Yield Spreads and Interest Rate Movements: A Bird's Eye View," NBER Working Papers 3153, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. S.A.B. Page & Sandra Trollope, 1974. "An International Survey of Indexing and Its Effects," National Institute Economic Review, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, vol. 70(1), pages 46-59, November.
    16. Modigliani, Franco & Shiller, Robert J, 1973. "Inflation, Rational Expectations and the Term Structure of Interest Rates," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 40(157), pages 12-43, February.
    17. Darby, Michael R, 1975. "The Financial and Tax Effects of Monetary Policy on Interest Rates," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 13(2), pages 266-76, June.
    18. Bohn, Henning, 1988. "Why do we have nominal government debt?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 127-140, January.
    19. King, Mervyn, 1995. "Credibility and Monetary Policy: Theory and Evidence," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 42(1), pages 1-19, February.
    20. Missale, Alessandro & Blanchard, Olivier Jean, 1994. "The Debt Burden and Debt Maturity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 309-19, March.
    21. Barro, Robert J & Gordon, David B, 1983. "A Positive Theory of Monetary Policy in a Natural Rate Model," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(4), pages 589-610, August.
    22. John Y. Campbell, 1995. "Some Lessons from the Yield Curve," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 129-152, Summer.
    23. Breeden, Douglas T & Gibbons, Michael R & Litzenberger, Robert H, 1989. " Empirical Tests of the Consumption-Oriented CAPM," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 44(2), pages 231-62, June.
    24. Merton, Robert C, 1973. "An Intertemporal Capital Asset Pricing Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 41(5), pages 867-87, September.
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