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Modeling interest rate dynamics: an infinite-dimensional approach


  • Rama Cont

    (CMAP - Ecole Polytechnique)


We present a family of models for the term structure of interest rates which describe the interest rate curve as a stochastic process in a Hilbert space. We start by decomposing the deformations of the term structure into the variations of the short rate, the long rate and the fluctuations of the curve around its average shape. This fluctuation is then described as a solution of a stochastic evolution equation in an infinite dimensional space. In the case where deformations are local in maturity, this equation reduces to a stochastic PDE, of which we give the simplest example. We discuss the properties of the solutions and show that they capture in a parsimonious manner the essential features of yield curve dynamics: imperfect correlation between maturities, mean reversion of interest rates and the structure of principal components of term structure deformations. Finally, we discuss calibration issues and show that the model parameters have a natural interpretation in terms of empirically observed quantities.

Suggested Citation

  • Rama Cont, 1999. "Modeling interest rate dynamics: an infinite-dimensional approach," Papers cond-mat/9902018,
  • Handle: RePEc:arx:papers:cond-mat/9902018

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Vasicek, Oldrich, 1977. "An equilibrium characterization of the term structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 177-188, November.
    2. Jean-Philippe Bouchaud & Nicolas Sagna & Rama Cont & Nicole El-Karoui & Marc Potters, 1999. "Phenomenology of the interest rate curve," Applied Mathematical Finance, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(3), pages 209-232.
    3. John C. Cox & Jonathan E. Ingersoll Jr. & Stephen A. Ross, 2005. "A Theory Of The Term Structure Of Interest Rates," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: Theory Of Valuation, chapter 5, pages 129-164 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    4. D. P. Kennedy, 1994. "The Term Structure Of Interest Rates As A Gaussian Random Field," Mathematical Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 4(3), pages 247-258.
    5. repec:crs:wpaper:9611 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. David Heath & Robert Jarrow & Andrew Morton, 2008. "Bond Pricing And The Term Structure Of Interest Rates: A New Methodology For Contingent Claims Valuation," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: Financial Derivatives Pricing Selected Works of Robert Jarrow, chapter 13, pages 277-305 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    7. Jean-Philippe Bouchaud & Nicolas Sagna & Rama Cont & Nicole El-Karoui & Marc Potters, 1998. "Strings Attached," Science & Finance (CFM) working paper archive 500049, Science & Finance, Capital Fund Management.
    8. Constantinides, George M, 1992. "A Theory of the Nominal Term Structure of Interest Rates," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 5(4), pages 531-552.
    9. Dybvig, Philip H & Ingersoll, Jonathan E, Jr & Ross, Stephen A, 1996. "Long Forward and Zero-Coupon Rates Can Never Fall," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 69(1), pages 1-25, January.
    10. Schaefer, Stephen M & Schwartz, Eduardo S, 1987. " Time-Dependent Variance and the Pricing of Bond Options," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 42(5), pages 1113-1128, December.
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