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Term premiums and inflation uncertainty: empirical evidence from an international panel dataset

  • Jonathan H. Wright

This paper provides cross-country empirical evidence on term premia, inflation uncertainty, and their relationship. It has three components. First, I construct a panel of zero-coupon nominal government bond yields spanning ten countries and eighteen years. From these, I construct forward rates and decompose these into expected future short-term interest rates and term premiums, using both statistical methods (an affine term structure model) and using surveys. Second, I construct alternative measures of time-varying inflation uncertainty for these countries, using actual inflation data and survey expectations. I discuss some possible determinants of inflation uncertainty. Finally, I use panel data methods to investigate the relationship between term premium estimates and inflation uncertainty measures, and find a strong positive relationship. The economic determinants of term premia remain mysterious; but this evidence points to uncertainty about intermediate- to long-run inflation rates being a substantial part of the explanation for why yield curves slope up.

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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 2008-25.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2008-25
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  4. Meredith J. Beechey, 2008. "Lowering the anchor: how the Bank of England's inflation-targeting policies have shaped inflation expectations and perceptions of inflation risk," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2008-44, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  5. Ang, Andrew & Bekaert, Geert & Wei, Min, 2007. "Do macro variables, asset markets, or surveys forecast inflation better?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(4), pages 1163-1212, May.
  6. Ang, Andrew & Piazzesi, Monika, 2003. "A no-arbitrage vector autoregression of term structure dynamics with macroeconomic and latent variables," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(4), pages 745-787, May.
  7. Meredith J. Beechey & Benjamin K. Johannsen & Andrew T. Levin, 2011. "Are Long-Run Inflation Expectations Anchored More Firmly in the Euro Area Than in the United States?," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(2), pages 104-29, April.
  8. Kenneth A. Froot, 1987. "New Hope for the Expectations Hypothesis of the Term Structure of Interest Rates," NBER Working Papers 2363, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  13. Rich, R W & Raymond, J E & Butler, J S, 1992. "The Relationship between Forecast Dispersion and Forecast Uncertainty: Evidence from a Survey Data-ARCH Model," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 7(2), pages 131-48, April-Jun.
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  15. Friedman, Milton, 1977. "Nobel Lecture: Inflation and Unemployment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 451-72, June.
  16. 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.
  17. Bacchetta, Philippe & Mertens, Elmar & van Wincoop, Eric, 2006. "Predictability in Financial Markets: What Do Survey Expectations Tell Us?," CEPR Discussion Papers 5770, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  18. John Y. Campbell & Adi Sunderam & Luis M. Viceira, 2009. "Inflation Bets or Deflation Hedges? The Changing Risks of Nominal Bonds," NBER Working Papers 14701, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Wachter, Jessica A., 2006. "A consumption-based model of the term structure of interest rates," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 365-399, February.
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