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Predicting Recessions Using the Yield Curve: The Role of the Stance of Monetary Policy

Author

Listed:
  • Daniel H. Cooper
  • Jeffrey C. Fuhrer
  • Giovanni P. Olivei

Abstract

The yield curve is often viewed as a leading indicator of recessions. While the yield curve’s predictive power is not without controversy, its ability to anticipate economic downturns endures across specifications and time periods. This note examines the predictive power of the yield curve after accounting for the current stance of monetary policy—a relevant issue given that monetary policy was unusually accommodative during the most recent yield curve inversion, in the third quarter of 2019. The results show that a yield curve inversion likely overstates the probability of a recession when the stance of monetary policy, judged relative to a time-varying neutral federal funds rate, is accommodative.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniel H. Cooper & Jeffrey C. Fuhrer & Giovanni P. Olivei, 2020. "Predicting Recessions Using the Yield Curve: The Role of the Stance of Monetary Policy," Current Policy Perspectives 87522, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedbcq:87522
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Arturo Estrella & Mary R. Trubin, 2006. "The yield curve as a leading indicator: some practical issues," Current Issues in Economics and Finance, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, vol. 12(Jul).
    2. 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 555-576, June.
    3. Rudebusch, Glenn D. & Williams, John C., 2009. "Forecasting Recessions: The Puzzle of the Enduring Power of the Yield Curve," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 27(4), pages 492-503.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    term spread; yield curve inversion; recession probabilities;

    JEL classification:

    • E43 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Interest Rates: Determination, Term Structure, and Effects
    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy

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