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On biases in tests of the expectations hypothesis of the term structure of interest rates

  • Geert Bekaert
  • Robert J. Hodrick
  • David Marshall

We document extreme bias and dispersion in the small sample distributions of five standard regression tests of the expectations hypothesis of the term structure of interest rates. These biases derive from the extreme persistence in short interest rates. We derive approximate analytic expressions for these biases, and we characterize the small-sample distributions of these test statistics under a simple first-order autoregressive data generating process for the short rate. The biases are also present when the short rate is modeled with a more realistic regime-switching process. The differences between the small-sample distributions of test statistics and the asymptotic distributions partially reconcile the different inferences drawn when alternative tests are used to evaluate the expectations hypothesis. In general, the test statistics reject the expectations hypothesis more strongly and uniformly when they are evaluated using the small-sample distributions, as compared to the asymptotic distributions.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in its series Working Paper Series, Issues in Financial Regulation with number WP-96-3.

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Date of creation: 1996
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedhfi:wp-96-3
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  1. Hardouvelis, Gikas A., 1994. "The term structure spread and future changes in long and short rates in the G7 countries: Is there a puzzle?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 255-283, April.
  2. Andrews, Donald W K, 1991. "Heteroskedasticity and Autocorrelation Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(3), pages 817-58, May.
  3. Graham Elliott & James H. Stock, 1992. "Inference in Time Series Regression When the Order of Integration of a Regressor is Unknown," NBER Technical Working Papers 0122, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Jorion, Philippe & Mishkin, Frederic, 1991. "A multicountry comparison of term-structure forecasts at long horizons," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 59-80, March.
  5. Hamilton, James D., 1988. "Rational-expectations econometric analysis of changes in regime : An investigation of the term structure of interest rates," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 12(2-3), pages 385-423.
  6. Campbell, John Y & Shiller, Robert J, 1991. "Yield Spreads and Interest Rate Movements: A Bird's Eye View," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(3), pages 495-514, May.
  7. Bera, Anil K. & Jarque, Carlos M., 1982. "Model specification tests : A simultaneous approach," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 59-82, October.
  8. Engle, Robert F. & Ng, Victor K. & Rothschild, Michael, 1990. "Asset pricing with a factor-arch covariance structure : Empirical estimates for treasury bills," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 45(1-2), pages 213-237.
  9. Bollerslev, Tim & Chou, Ray Y. & Kroner, Kenneth F., 1992. "ARCH modeling in finance : A review of the theory and empirical evidence," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 52(1-2), pages 5-59.
  10. Hodrick, Robert J, 1992. "Dividend Yields and Expected Stock Returns: Alternative Procedures for Inference and Measurement," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 5(3), pages 357-86.
  11. White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-38, May.
  12. Geert Bekaert & Robert J. Hodrick & David Marshall, 1996. "On biases in tests of the expectations hypothesis of the term structure of interest rates," Working Paper Series, Issues in Financial Regulation WP-96-3, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  13. Hansen, Lars Peter, 1982. "Large Sample Properties of Generalized Method of Moments Estimators," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 1029-54, July.
  14. Newey, Whitney & West, Kenneth, 2014. "A simple, positive semi-definite, heteroscedasticity and autocorrelation consistent covariance matrix," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 33(1), pages 125-132.
  15. Geert Bekaert & Campbell R. Harvey, 1995. "Emerging Equity Market Volatility," NBER Working Papers 5307, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Gregory Mankiw, N. & Shapiro, Matthew D., 1986. "Do we reject too often? : Small sample properties of tests of rational expectations models," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 139-145.
  17. Robert E. Cumby & John Huizinga, 1990. "Testing The Autocorrelation Structure of Disturbances in Ordinary Least Squares and Instrumental Variables Regressions," NBER Technical Working Papers 0092, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Richardson, Matthew & Stock, James H., 1989. "Drawing inferences from statistics based on multiyear asset returns," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 323-348, December.
  19. Bollerslev, Tim, 1986. "Generalized autoregressive conditional heteroskedasticity," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 307-327, April.
  20. Matthew Richardson & James H. Stock, 1990. "Drawing Inferences From Statistics Based on Multi-Year Asset Returns," NBER Working Papers 3335, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Stambaugh, Robert F., 1988. "The information in forward rates : Implications for models of the term structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 41-70, May.
  22. White, Halbert, 1982. "Maximum Likelihood Estimation of Misspecified Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 1-25, January.
  23. repec:cup:etheor:v:10:y:1994:i:3-4:p:672-700 is not listed on IDEAS
  24. Gray, Stephen F., 1996. "Modeling the conditional distribution of interest rates as a regime-switching process," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 27-62, September.
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