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Ambiguity Aversion and the Term Structure of Interest Rates

  • Laurent BARRAS

    (Imperial College, Tanaka Business School and Swiss Finance Institute)

  • Patrick Gagliardini

    (University of Lugano and Swiss Finance Institute)

  • Paolo Porchia

    (University of St. Gallen)

  • Fabio Trojani

    (University of St. Gallen)

This paper studies the termstructure implications of a simple structuralmodel inwhich the representative agent displays ambiguity aversion, modeled by Multiple Priors Recursive Utility. Bond excess returns reflect a premium for ambiguity, which is observationally distinct from the risk premium of affine yield curve models. The ambiguity premium can be large even in the simplest log-utility setting and is non zero also for stochastic factors that have a zero risk premium. A calibrated low-dimensional two-factor model with ambiguity is able to reproduce the deviations from the expectations hypothesis documented in the literature, without modifying in a substantial way the nonlinear mean reversion dynamics of the short interest rate. Moreover, the model does not imply any apparent tradeoff between fitting the first and second moments of the yield curve.

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Paper provided by Swiss Finance Institute in its series Swiss Finance Institute Research Paper Series with number 08-18.

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Length: 43 pages
Date of creation:
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Handle: RePEc:chf:rpseri:rp0819
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.SwissFinanceInstitute.ch

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  1. Longstaff, Francis A & Schwartz, Eduardo S, 1992. " Interest Rate Volatility and the Term Structure: A Two-Factor General Equilibrium Model," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(4), pages 1259-82, September.
  2. Zengjing Chen & Larry G. Epstein, 2000. "Ambiguity, risk and asset returns in continuous time," RCER Working Papers 474, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  3. Larry G. Epstein & Martin Schneider, 2001. "Recursive Multiple-Priors," RCER Working Papers 485, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
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  8. Epstein, Larry G. & Miao, Jianjun, 2003. "A two-person dynamic equilibrium under ambiguity," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 27(7), pages 1253-1288, May.
  9. Trojani, Fabio & Vanini, Paolo, 2002. "A note on robustness in Merton's model of intertemporal consumption and portfolio choice," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 423-435, March.
  10. Philip H. Dybvig & Chi-fu Huang, 1988. "Nonnegative Wealth, Absence of Arbitrage, and Feasible Consumption Plans," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 860, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  11. Gilboa, Itzhak & Schmeidler, David, 1989. "Maxmin expected utility with non-unique prior," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 141-153, April.
  12. Pascal J. Maenhout, 2004. "Robust Portfolio Rules and Asset Pricing," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 17(4), pages 951-983.
  13. Epstein, Larry G & Wang, Tan, 1994. "Intertemporal Asset Pricing Under Knightian Uncertainty," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 283-322, March.
  14. Jun Liu, 2005. "An Equilibrium Model of Rare-Event Premia and Its Implication for Option Smirks," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 18(1), pages 131-164.
  15. Evan W. Anderson & Lars Peter Hansen & Thomas J. Sargent, 2003. "A Quartet of Semigroups for Model Specification, Robustness, Prices of Risk, and Model Detection," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(1), pages 68-123, 03.
  16. Fabio Trojani & Paolo Vanini, 2004. "Robustness and Ambiguity Aversion in General Equilibrium," Review of Finance, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 279-324.
  17. Wachter, Jessica A., 2006. "A consumption-based model of the term structure of interest rates," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 365-399, February.
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