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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. 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.
  2. Andrew Ang & Geert Bekaert & Min Wei, 2007. "The Term Structure of Real Rates and Expected Inflation," NBER Working Papers 12930, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. 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.
  4. Seonghoon Cho & Antonio Moreno & Geert Bekaert, 2005. "New-Keynesian Macroeconomics and the Term Structure," Faculty Working Papers 04/05, School of Economics and Business Administration, University of Navarra.
  5. John H. Cochrane & Monika Piazzesi, 2005. "Bond Risk Premia," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 138-160, March.
  6. 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.
  7. Kim, Don H. & Orphanides, Athanasios, 2012. "Term Structure Estimation with Survey Data on Interest Rate Forecasts," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 47(01), pages 241-272, April.
  8. Glenn D. Rudebusch & Eric T. Swanson & Tao Wu, 2006. "The Bond Yield "Conundrum" from a Macro-Finance Perspective," Monetary and Economic Studies, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan, vol. 24(S1), pages 83-109, December.
  9. 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.).
  10. 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.).
  11. 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.).
  12. Francis E. Warnock & Veronica Cacdac Warnock, 2006. "International Capital Flows and U.S. Interest Rates," NBER Working Papers 12560, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  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. 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.).
  17. Darrell Duffie & Rui Kan, 1996. "A Yield-Factor Model Of Interest Rates," Mathematical Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(4), pages 379-406.
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