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Does the term structure predict recessions? The international evidence

  • Henri Bernard
  • Stefan Gerlach

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.

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Paper provided by Bank for International Settlements in its series BIS Working Papers with number 37.

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Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: Sep 1996
Date of revision:
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 249-79, April.
  2. 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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