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Predictions of short-term rates and the expectations hypothesis of the term structure of interest rates

  • Guidolin, Massimo
  • Thornton, Daniel L.

Despite its important role in monetary policy and finance, the expectations hypothesis (EH) of the term structure of interest rates has received virtually no empirical support. The empirical failure of the EH was attributed to a variety of econometric biases associated with the single-equation models used to test it; however, none account for it. This paper analyzes the EH by focusing on its fundamental tenet - the predictability of the short-term rate. This is done by comparing h-month ahead forecasts for the 1- and 3-month Treasury yields implied by the EH with the forecasts from random-walk, Diebold and Lei (2006), and Duffee (2002) models. The evidence suggests that the failure of the EH is likely a consequence of market participants’ inability to predict the short-term rate. JEL Classification: E40, E52

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Paper provided by European Central Bank in its series Working Paper Series with number 0977.

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Date of creation: Dec 2008
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Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20080977
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  1. Francis X. Diebold & Glenn D. Rudebusch & S. Boragan Aruoba, 2003. "The macroeconomy and the yield curve: a nonstructural analysis," Working Paper Series 2003-18, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
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  5. Thornton, Daniel-L, 2004. "Testing the Expectations Hypothesis: Some New Evidence for Japan," Monetary and Economic Studies, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan, vol. 22(2), pages 45-69, May.
  6. Harvey, David & Leybourne, Stephen & Newbold, Paul, 1997. "Testing the equality of prediction mean squared errors," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 281-291, June.
  7. Geert Bekaert & Robert J. Hodrick & David A. Marshall, 1997. ""Peso problem" explanations for term structure anomalies," Working Paper Series, Issues in Financial Regulation WP-97-07, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  8. Nelson, Charles R & Siegel, Andrew F, 1987. "Parsimonious Modeling of Yield Curves," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 60(4), pages 473-89, October.
  9. Roberds, William & Whiteman, Charles H., 1999. "Endogenous term premia and anomalies in the term structure of interest rates: Explaining the predictability smile," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 555-580, December.
  10. Geert Bekaert & Robert J. Hodrick, 2000. "Expectations Hypotheses Tests," NBER Working Papers 7609, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Tzavalis, Elias & Wickens, Michael R, 1997. "Explaining the Failures of the Term Spread Models of the Rational Expectations Hypothesis of the Term Structure," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 29(3), pages 364-80, August.
  12. Diebold, Francis X. & Li, Canlin, 2003. "Forecasting the term structure of government bond yields," CFS Working Paper Series 2004/09, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
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  16. Balduzzi, Pierluigi & Bertola, Giuseppe & Foresi, Silverio, 1997. "A model of target changes and the term structure of interest rates," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 223-249, July.
  17. John Y. Campbell & Robert J. Shiller, 1991. "Yield Spreads and Interest Rate Movements: A Bird's Eye View," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(3), pages 495-514.
  18. Dai, Qiang & Singleton, Kenneth J., 2002. "Expectation puzzles, time-varying risk premia, and affine models of the term structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(3), pages 415-441, March.
  19. Andrea Carriero & Carlo Favero & Iryna Kaminska, 2004. "Financial Factors, Macroeconomic Information and the Expectations Theory of the Term Structure of Interest Rates," Working Papers 253, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  20. Hardouvelis, Gikas A., 1994. "The term structure spread and future changes in long and short rates in the G7 countries: Is there a puzzle?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 255-283, April.
  21. Michael Dotsey & Christopher Otrok, 1995. "The rational expectations hypothesis of the term structure, monetary policy, and time-varying term premia," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Win, pages 65-81.
  22. Gregory R. Duffee, 2002. "Term Premia and Interest Rate Forecasts in Affine Models," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(1), pages 405-443, 02.
  23. Charles R. Nelson & Andrew F. Siegel, 1986. "Long-Term Behavior of Yield Curves," NBER Working Papers 1789, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. William Poole & Robert H & Rasche & Daniel L. Thornton, 2002. "Market anticipations of monetary policy actions," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jul, pages 65-94.
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