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The Consumption-Based Determinants of the Term Structure of Discount Rates

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  • Christian Gollier

Abstract

The efficient rate of return of a zero-coupon bond with maturity t is determined by our expectations about the mean (+), variance (-) and skewness (+) of the growth of aggregate consumption between 0 and t. The shape of the yield curve is thus determined by how these moments vary with t. We first examine growth processes in which a higher past economic growth yields a first-degree dominant shift in the distribution of the future economic growth, as assumed for example by Vasicek (1977). We show that when the growth process exhibits such a positive serial correlation, then the yield curve is decreasing if the representative agent is prudent (u'''> 0), because of the increased risk that it yields for the distant future. A similar definition is proposed for the concept of second-degree stochastic correlation, as observed for example in the Cox-Ingersoll-Ross model, with the opposite comparative static property holding under temperance (u''''

Suggested Citation

  • Christian Gollier, 2005. "The Consumption-Based Determinants of the Term Structure of Discount Rates," CESifo Working Paper Series 1375, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1375
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Gollier, Christian, 2010. "Expected net present value, expected net future value, and the Ramsey rule," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 142-148, March.
    2. Phoebe Koundouri & Theologos Pantelidis & Ben Groom & Ekaterini Panopoulou, 2007. "Discounting the distant future: How much does model selection affect the certainty equivalent rate?," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(3), pages 641-656.
    3. Gollier, Christian, 2010. "Ecological discounting," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 145(2), pages 812-829, March.
    4. Christian Gollier & Phoebe Koundouri & Theologos Pantelidis, 2008. "Declining discount rates: Economic justifications and implications for long-run policy [‘Regime switches in interest rates’]," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 23(56), pages 758-795.
    5. John Y. Campbell & Robert J. Shiller & Luis M. Viceira, 2009. "Understanding Inflation-Indexed Bond Markets," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 40(1 (Spring), pages 79-138.
    6. Gollier, Christian, 2009. "Should we Discount the Far-Distant Future at its Lowest Possible Rate?," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 3, pages 1-14.
    7. Christian Gollier, 2008. "Discounting with fat-tailed economic growth," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 37(2), pages 171-186, December.
    8. Campbell, John Y. & Sunderam, Adi & Viceira, Luis M., 2017. "Inflation Bets or Deflation Hedges? The Changing Risks of Nominal Bonds," Critical Finance Review, now publishers, vol. 6(2), pages 263-301, September.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    stochastic dominance; yield curve; far distant future; cost-benefit analysis; prudence; temperance; downside risk;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E43 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Interest Rates: Determination, Term Structure, and Effects
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • Q51 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Valuation of Environmental Effects

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