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Regime-shifts, risk premiums in the term structure, and the business cycle

  • Ravi Bansal
  • George Tauchen & Hao Zhou

We examine various dynamic term structure models for monthly US Treasury yields from 1964 to 2001. Of particular interest is the predictability of bond excess returns. Recent evidence indicates that using multiple forward rates can sharply predict future excess returns on bonds; the R2 of this predictability regression can be as high as 30%. In addition, the projection coefficients in these predictability regressions exhibit a tent shaped pattern that relates to the maturity of the forward rate. This dimension of the data in conjunction with the transition dynamics of bond yields (i.e., conditional volatility and cross-correlation of bond yields) poses an serious challenge to term structure models. In this paper we present and estimate a regime-shifts term structure model, and our findings show that this model can account for all aspects of the predictability regression and the transition dynamics of yields. Alternative models, such as affine factor models, cannot account for these features of the data. We find that the regimes in the model are related to the NBER business-cycle indicator.

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Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series Finance and Economics Discussion Series with number 2003-21.

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Date of creation: 2003
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2003-21
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  1. Lars Peter Hansen & Ravi Jagannathan, 1994. "Assessing specification errors in stochastic discount factor models," Staff Report 167, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  2. Campbell, John Y & Shiller, Robert J, 1991. "Yield Spreads and Interest Rate Movements: A Bird's Eye View," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(3), pages 495-514, May.
  3. John H. Cochrane & Monika Piazzesi, 2005. "Bond Risk Premia," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 138-160, March.
  4. Cox, John C & Ingersoll, Jonathan E, Jr & Ross, Stephen A, 1985. "A Theory of the Term Structure of Interest Rates," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(2), pages 385-407, March.
  5. Cai, Jun, 1994. "A Markov Model of Switching-Regime ARCH," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 12(3), pages 309-16, July.
  6. 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.
  7. Hansen, Bruce E, 1992. "The Likelihood Ratio Test under Nonstandard Conditions: Testing the Markov Switching Model of GNP," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 7(S), pages S61-82, Suppl. De.
  8. Tauchen, George E. & Gallant, A. Ronald, 1995. "Which Moments to Match," Working Papers 95-20, Duke University, Department of Economics.
  9. Hamilton, James D., 1988. "Rational-expectations econometric analysis of changes in regime : An investigation of the term structure of interest rates," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 12(2-3), pages 385-423.
  10. Ronald Gallant, A. & Tauchen, George, 1999. "The relative efficiency of method of moments estimators1," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1), pages 149-172, September.
  11. Dong-Hyun Ahn & Robert F. Dittmar, 2002. "Quadratic Term Structure Models: Theory and Evidence," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 15(1), pages 243-288, March.
  12. Hamilton, James D, 1989. "A New Approach to the Economic Analysis of Nonstationary Time Series and the Business Cycle," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 357-84, March.
  13. Bansal, Ravi & Gallant, A. Ronald & Hussey, Robert & Tauchen, George, 1995. "Nonparametric estimation of structural models for high-frequency currency market data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 66(1-2), pages 251-287.
  14. Gray, Stephen F., 1996. "Modeling the conditional distribution of interest rates as a regime-switching process," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 27-62, September.
  15. 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.
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