IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

The Term Structure of Real Interest Rates: Theory and Evidence from the U.K. Index-Linked Bonds

  • Juha Ilmari Seppala

    (University of Chicago)

This paper argues that a simple general equilibrium model can explain two of the most persistent term structure puzzles. First, Donaldson, Johnsen, and Mehra (1990) show that while in the U.S. nominal term structure the interest rates are pro-cyclical and term spreads counter-cyclical the stochastic growth model predicts that the interest rates are counter-cyclical and term spreads pro-cyclical. The resolution of this puzzle is simple. Using the data on the U.K. index-linked bonds, I show that during the sample period 1984:1--1995:8 the (ex-ante) real interest rates were counter-cyclical and term spreads pro-cyclical. Second, according to Backus, Gregory, and Zin (1989) a complete markets model can account for neither the sign nor the magnitude of average risk premiums in forward prices. This paper applies recent research by Alvarez and Jermann (1999ab) to the term premium puzzle. It is shown that the model produces a large risk premium with the correct sign, and unlike the complete markets model can generate enough variation in the risk premia to account for the rejections of the expectations hypothesis. In addition, when the model is calibrated to the U.K. aggregate and household data, the regressions of future spot rates and consumption growth on the term spread behave in a similar manner both in simulated and in actual data. Keywords: Business Cycles, Term Structure of Interest Rates, General Equilibrium, Risk Premia.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
File Function: main text
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Econometric Society in its series Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers with number 0245.

in new window

Date of creation: 01 Aug 2000
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ecm:wc2000:0245
Contact details of provider: Phone: 1 212 998 3820
Fax: 1 212 995 4487
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Jonathan E. Ingersoll Jr. & Philip H. Dybvig & Stephen A. Ross, 1998. "Long Forward and Zero-Coupon Rates Can Never Fall," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm45, Yale School of Management.
  2. Frederic S. Mishkin, 1981. "The Real Interest Rate: An Empirical Investigation," NBER Working Papers 0622, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Angelo Melino, 1986. "The Term Structure of Interest Rates: Evidence and Theory," NBER Working Papers 1828, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Seppälä, Juha & Viertiö, Petri, 1996. "The Term Structure of Interest Rates: Estimation and Interpretation," Research Discussion Papers 19/1996, Bank of Finland.
  5. Fama, Eugene F & Bliss, Robert R, 1987. "The Information in Long-Maturity Forward Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 680-92, September.
  6. Robert J. Shiller & John Y. Campbell & Kermit L. Schoenholtz, 1983. "Forward Rates and Future Policy: Interpreting the Term Structure of Interest Rates," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 667, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  7. Chapman, David A., 1997. "The cyclical properties of consumption growth and the real term structure," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 145-172, July.
  8. Soderlind, Paul & Svensson, Lars, 1997. "New techniques to extract market expectations from financial instruments," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 383-429, October.
  9. Lars E. O. Svensson, 1994. "Estimating and Interpreting Forward Interest Rates: Sweden 1992-1994," IMF Working Papers 94/114, International Monetary Fund.
  10. White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-38, May.
  11. John Y. Campbell, 1995. "Some Lessons from the Yield Curve," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 129-152, Summer.
  12. Robert E. Lucas Jr. & Nancy L. Stokey, 1982. "Optimal Fiscal and Monetary Policy in an Economy Without Capital," Discussion Papers 532, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  13. Sanford J. Grossman & Angelo Melino & Robert J. Shiller, 1985. "Estimating the Continuous Time Consumption Based Asset Pricing Model," NBER Working Papers 1643, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Pamela Labadie, 1991. "The term structure of interest rates over the business cycle," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 159, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  15. 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.
  16. Alvarez, Fernando & Jermann, Urban J, 2001. "Quantitative Asset Pricing Implications of Endogenous Solvency Constraints," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 14(4), pages 1117-51.
  17. Svensson, L.E.O., 1993. "Monetary Policy with Flexible Exchange Rates and Foreward Interest Rates as Indicators," Papers 559, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
  18. Froot, Kenneth A, 1989. " New Hope for the Expectations Hypothesis of the Term Structure of Interest Rates," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 44(2), pages 283-305, June.
  19. David K. Backus & Allan W. Gregory & Stanley E. Zin, 1986. "Risk Premiums in the Term Structure : Evidence from Artificial Economies," Working Papers 665, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  20. R. Mehra & E. Prescott, 2010. "The equity premium: a puzzle," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1401, David K. Levine.
  21. Heaton, John & Lucas, Deborah, 1992. "The effects of incomplete insurance markets and trading costs in a consumption-based asset pricing model," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 16(3-4), pages 601-620.
  22. John Heaton & Deborah Lucas, 1993. "Evaluating the Effects of Incomplete Markets on Risk Sharing and Asset Pricing," NBER Working Papers 4249, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Estrella, Arturo & Hardouvelis, Gikas A, 1991. " The Term Structure as a Predictor of Real Economic Activity," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 46(2), pages 555-76, June.
  24. Mishkin, Frederic S, 1990. "The Information in the Longer Maturity Term Structure about Future Inflation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(3), pages 815-28, August.
  25. Fama, Eugene F., 1984. "The information in the term structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 509-528, December.
  26. 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.
  27. Shiller, Robert & Campbell, John, 1991. "Yield Spreads and Interest Rate Movements: A Bird's Eye View," Scholarly Articles 3221490, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  28. John H. Cochrane & Lars Peter Hansen, 1992. "Asset Pricing Explorations for Macroeconomics," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1992, Volume 7, pages 115-182 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  29. Shiller, Robert J. & Huston McCulloch, J., 1990. "The term structure of interest rates," Handbook of Monetary Economics, in: B. M. Friedman & F. H. Hahn (ed.), Handbook of Monetary Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 13, pages 627-722 Elsevier.
  30. Prescott, Edward C & Mehra, Rajnish, 1980. "Recursive Competitive Equilibrium: The Case of Homogeneous Households," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(6), pages 1365-79, September.
  31. Frederic S. Mishkin, 1990. "Yield Curve," NBER Working Papers 3550, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  32. Fama, Eugene F. & French, Kenneth R., 1989. "Business conditions and expected returns on stocks and bonds," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 23-49, November.
  33. Harvey, Campbell R., 1988. "The real term structure and consumption growth," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 305-333, December.
  34. Fernando Alvarez & Urban J. Jermann, 1998. "Asset Pricing when Risk Sharing is Limited by Default," NBER Working Papers 6476, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  35. Chen, Nai-Fu, 1991. " Financial Investment Opportunities and the Macroeconomy," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 46(2), pages 529-54, June.
  36. Donaldson, John B. & Johnsen, Thore & Mehra, Rajnish, 1990. "On the term structure of interest rates," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 14(3-4), pages 571-596, October.
  37. Martin D. D. Evans, 1998. "Real Rates, Expected Inflation, and Inflation Risk Premia," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 53(1), pages 187-218, 02.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ecm:wc2000:0245. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Christopher F. Baum)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.