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Does the term structure predict recessions? The international evidence

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  • Henri Bernard
  • Stefan Gerlach

Abstract

Following Estrella and Hardouvelis (1991) and Estrella and Mishkin (1995a, b), we study the ability of the term structure to predict recessions in eight countries. The results are fourfold. First, the yield curve provides information about the likelihood of future recessions in all countries. Second, term spreads are useful for predicting recessions as much as two years ahead. Third, while German and US spreads are frequently significant in the regressions for the other countries, the added information is limited except in Japan and the United Kingdom. Fourth, while leading indicators contain information beyond that in term spreads, this information is only useful for forecasting recessions in the immediate future. These findings provide further evidence of the potential usefulness of term spreads as indicators for monetary policy purposes.

Suggested Citation

  • Henri Bernard & Stefan Gerlach, 1996. "Does the term structure predict recessions? The international evidence," BIS Working Papers 37, Bank for International Settlements.
  • Handle: RePEc:bis:biswps:37
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    1. Artis, Michael J & Kontolemis, Zenon G & Osborn, Denise R, 1997. "Business Cycles for G7 and European Countries," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70(2), pages 249-279, April.
    2. Ben S. Bernanke, 1990. "On the predictive power of interest rates and interest rate spreads," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue Nov, pages 51-68.
    3. Fama, Eugene F., 1990. "Term-structure forecasts of interest rates, inflation and real returns," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 59-76, January.
    4. Plosser, Charles I. & Geert Rouwenhorst, K., 1994. "International term structures and real economic growth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 133-155, February.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E43 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Interest Rates: Determination, Term Structure, and Effects
    • E5 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit

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