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The U.S. Treasury yield curve: 1961 to the present

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  • Refet S. Gürkaynak
  • Brian P. Sack
  • Jonathan H. Wright

Abstract

The discount function, which determines the value of all future nominal payments, is the most basic building block of finance and is usually inferred from the Treasury yield curve. It is therefore surprising that researchers and practitioners do not have available to them a long history of high-frequency yield curve estimates. This paper fills that void by making public the Treasury yield curve estimates of the Federal Reserve Board at a daily frequency from 1961 to the present. We use a well-known and simple smoothing method that is shown to fit the data very well. The resulting estimates can be used to compute yields or forward rates for any horizon. We hope that the data, which are posted on the website http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/feds/2006 and which will be updated periodically, will provide a benchmark yield curve that will be useful to applied economists.

Suggested Citation

  • Refet S. Gürkaynak & Brian P. Sack & Jonathan H. Wright, 2006. "The U.S. Treasury yield curve: 1961 to the present," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2006-28, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2006-28
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Michael J. Fleming, 2000. "The benchmark U.S. Treasury market: recent performance and possible alternatives," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Apr, pages 129-145.
    2. Nicola Anderson & John Sleath, 2001. "New estimates of the UK real and nominal yield curves," Bank of England working papers 126, Bank of England.
    3. Duffee, Gregory R, 1996. " Idiosyncratic Variation of Treasury Bill Yields," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 51(2), pages 527-551, June.
    4. Brian P. Sack & Robert Elsasser, 2004. "Treasury inflation-indexed debt: a review of the U.S. experience," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue May, pages 47-63.
    5. Robert J. Shiller & John Y. Campbell & Kermit L. Schoenholtz, 1983. "Forward Rates and Future Policy: Interpreting the Term Structure of Interest Rates," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 14(1), pages 173-224.
    6. McCulloch, J Huston, 1975. "The Tax-Adjusted Yield Curve," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 30(3), pages 811-830, June.
    7. Robert R. Bliss, 1996. "Testing term structure estimation methods," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 96-12, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    8. Mark Fisher & Douglas Nychka & David Zervos, 1995. "Fitting the term structure of interest rates with smoothing splines," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 95-1, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    9. Daniel F. Waggoner, 1997. "Spline methods for extracting interest rate curves from coupon bond prices," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 97-10, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    10. Brian P. Sack, 2000. "Using Treasury STRIPS to measure the yield curve," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2000-42, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    11. Nelson, Charles R & Siegel, Andrew F, 1987. "Parsimonious Modeling of Yield Curves," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 60(4), pages 473-489, October.
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    Keywords

    Treasury bills ; Government securities ; Interest rates;

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