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Is the yield curve a useful Information variable for the Eurosystem?

  • van Bergeijk, Peter A. G.
  • Berk, Jan Marc

The focus of this paper is on the use of the yield curve in monetary policy making. Theoretical arguments and a multi-country empirical analysis with an explicit focus on the euro area suggest the need for caution in case the Eurosystem uses the yield curve as an information variable for monetary policy, because multiple theoretical explanations exist for an observed movement in the yield curve, suggesting that policy reactions cannot be prescribed unambiguously. In addition, the empirical analysis shows that, in contrast with earlier findings of, for example, Hardouvelis (1994) and Bernard and Gerlach (1996), the information content of the yield curve is fairly limited. For the individual European countries participating in the Eurosystem as well as for the euro area as a whole, the yield spread possesses only very limited information relating to future movements in the inflation rate and output growth, over-and-above the information contained in the history of the latter variables. JEL Classification: E43, E52

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Paper provided by European Central Bank in its series Working Paper Series with number 0011.

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Date of creation: Feb 2000
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Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20000011
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  2. Hylleberg, S. & Engle, R.F. & Granger, C.W.J. & Yoo, B.S., 1988. "Seasonal, Integration And Cointegration," Papers 6-88-2, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
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  4. Francisco Alonso & Juan Ayuso & Jorge Martínez Pagés, 1997. "How Informative are Financial Asset Prices in Spain?," Banco de Espa�a Working Papers 9726, Banco de Espa�a.
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  8. Jorion, Philippe & Mishkin, Frederic, 1991. "A multicountry comparison of term-structure forecasts at long horizons," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 59-80, March.
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  12. Svensson, Lars E O, 1994. "Estimating and Interpreting Forward Interest Rates: Sweden 1992-4," CEPR Discussion Papers 1051, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  17. Frederic S. Mishkin, 1996. "The Channels of Monetary Transmission: Lessons for Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 5464, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Mishkin, Frederic S., 1991. "A multi-country study of the information in the shorter maturity term structure about future inflation," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 2-22, March.
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  22. Estrella, Arturo & Mishkin, Frederic S., 1997. "The predictive power of the term structure of interest rates in Europe and the United States: Implications for the European Central Bank," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(7), pages 1375-1401, July.
  23. Frederic S. Mishkin, 1995. "Symposium on the Monetary Transmission Mechanism," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 3-10, Fall.
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