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Cracking the conundrum

  • David Backus
  • Jonathan H. Wright

From 2004 to 2006, the FOMC raised the target federal funds rate by 4.25 percentage points, yet long-maturity yields and forward rates fell. We consider several possible explanations for this "conundrum." The most likely, in our view, is a fall in the term premium, probably associated with some combination of diminished macroeconomic uncertainty and financial market volatility, more predictable monetary policy, and the state of the business cycle.

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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 2007-46.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2007-46
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  1. Randall S. Kroszner, 2006. "Why are yield curves so flat and long rates so low globally? a speech at the Bankers' Association for Finance and Trade, New York, New York, June 15, 2006," Speech 219, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  2. Michael F. Gallmeyer & Burton Hollifield, 2005. "Taylor Rules, McCallum Rules and the Term Structure of Interest Rates," 2005 Meeting Papers 676, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  3. Shiller, Robert J, 1979. "The Volatility of Long-Term Interest Rates and Expectations Models of the Term Structure," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1190-1219, December.
  4. Refet S. Gürkaynak & Brian 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.).
  5. Geert Bekaert & Seonghoon Cho & Antonio Moreno, 2005. "New-Keynesian Macroeconomics and the Term Structure," NBER Working Papers 11340, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Ben S. Bernanke & Vincent R. Reinhart & Brian P. Sack, 2004. "Monetary policy alternatives at the zero bound: an empirical assessment," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2004-48, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  7. Francis E. Warnock & Veronica C. Warnock, 2005. "International Capital Flows and U.S. Interest Rates," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp103, IIIS.
  8. Glenn D. Rudebusch & Eric T. Swanson & Tao Wu, 2006. "The bond yield "conundrum" from a macro-finance perspective," Working Paper Series 2006-16, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  9. Ang, Andrew & Bekaert, Geert, 2004. "The Term Structure of Real Rates and Expected Inflation," CEPR Discussion Papers 4518, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Refet S. Gürkaynak & Brian Sack & Eric Swanson, 2005. "The Sensitivity of Long-Term Interest Rates to Economic News: Evidence and Implications for Macroeconomic Models," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 425-436, March.
  11. Andrew Ang & Monika Piazzesi, 2001. "A No-Arbitrage Vector Autoregression of Term Structure Dynamics with Macroeconomic and Latent Variables," NBER Working Papers 8363, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. John H. Cochrane & Monika Piazzesi, 2005. "Bond Risk Premia," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 138-160, March.
  13. Athanasios Orphanides & Don H. Kim, 2005. "Term Structure Estimation with Survey Data on Interest Rate Forecasts," Computing in Economics and Finance 2005 474, Society for Computational Economics.
  14. Meredith Beechey, 2006. "A closer look at the sensitivity puzzle: the sensitivity of expected future short rates and term premia to macroeconomic news," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2007-06, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  15. 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.
  16. Darrell Duffie & Rui Kan, 1996. "A Yield-Factor Model Of Interest Rates," Mathematical Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(4), pages 379-406.
  17. 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.
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