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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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  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.
  14. Andrew T. Levin & Jeremy M. Piger, 2003. "Is inflation persistence intrinsic in industrial economies?," Working Papers 2002-023, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  15. Mardi Dungey & Vance L Martin & Adrian R Pagan, 2000. "A multivariate latent factor decomposition of international bond yield spreads," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(6), pages 697-715.
  16. G├╝rkaynak, Refet S. & Levin, Andrew & Swanson, Eric T, 2006. "Does Inflation Targeting Anchor Long-Run Inflation Expectations? Evidence from Long-Term Bond Yields in the US, UK and Sweden," CEPR Discussion Papers 5808, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. Kozicki, Sharon & Tinsley, P. A., 2001. "Shifting endpoints in the term structure of interest rates," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 613-652, June.
  18. Wachter, Jessica A., 2003. "Risk aversion and allocation to long-term bonds," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 112(2), pages 325-333, October.
  19. Robert Rich & Joseph Tracy, 2006. "The relationship between expected inflation, disagreement, and uncertainty: evidence from matched point and density forecasts," Staff Reports 253, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  20. Froot, Kenneth A, 1989. " New Hope for the Expectations Hypothesis of the Term Structure of Interest Rates," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 44(2), pages 283-305, June.
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  22. 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.).
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