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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. Hardouvelis, Gikas A, 1988. " The Predictive Power of the Term Structure during Recent Monetary Regimes," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 43(2), pages 339-56, June.
  2. Daniel L. Thornton, 2004. "Testing the expectations hypothesis: some new evidence for Japan," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Sep, pages 21-40.
  3. Geert Bekaert & Robert J. Hodrick, 2000. "Expectations Hypotheses Tests," NBER Working Papers 7609, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Francis X. Diebold & Glenn D. Rudebusch & S. Boragan Aruoba, 2003. "The Macroeconomy and the Yield Curve: A Nonstructural Analysis," PIER Working Paper Archive 03-024, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  5. 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.
  6. William Roberds & Charles H. Whiteman, 1996. "Endogenous term premia and anomalies in the term structure of interest rates: explaining the predictability smile," Working Paper 96-11, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  7. Diebold, Francis X & Mariano, Roberto S, 1995. "Comparing Predictive Accuracy," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 13(3), pages 253-63, July.
  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. 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.
  10. Carriero, Andrea & Favero, Carlo A. & Kaminska, Iryna, 2004. "Financial Factors, Macroeconomic Information and the Expectations Theory of the Term Structure of Interest Rates," CEPR Discussion Papers 4301, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. 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.
  12. Diebold, Francis X. & Li, Canlin, 2006. "Forecasting the term structure of government bond yields," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 130(2), pages 337-364, February.
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  14. Rudebusch, Glenn D., 1995. "Federal Reserve interest rate targeting, rational expectations, and the term structure," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 245-274, April.
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  16. Harvey, David I & Leybourne, Stephen J & Newbold, Paul, 1998. "Tests for Forecast Encompassing," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 16(2), pages 254-59, April.
  17. Simon, David P, 1990. " Expectations and the Treasury Bill-Federal Funds Rate Spread over Recent Monetary Policy Regimes," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 45(2), pages 467-77, June.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. John Y. Campbell & Robert J. Shiller, 1989. "Yield Spreads and Interest Rate Movements: A Bird's Eye View," NBER Working Papers 3153, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
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