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Why do T-bill rates react to discount rate changes?


  • Daniel L. Thornton


This paper investigates the hypothesis suggested by Cook and Hahn (1988) that the T-bill rates respond to the announcement of discount rate changes because the market takes discount rate changes to be a signal that the Fed has changed its target for the federal funds rate. Re-Interpreting Cook and Hahn's empirical evidence and using theirs and an alternative methodology, we show that the evidence cannot differentiate their hypothesis from a number of others that have been suggested in the literature. We further find that there is no difference in the relative magnitude or timing of the response during periods when the Fed was directly targeting the funds rate or using a "fuzzy" funds rate target. This result suggests that the market does not simply interpret discount rate changes as a signal that the Fed has changed its target for the funds rate.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniel L. Thornton, 1992. "Why do T-bill rates react to discount rate changes?," Working Papers 1992-004, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:1992-004

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Fama, Eugene F., 1986. "Term premiums and default premiums in money markets," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 175-196, September.
    2. Goodfriend, Marvin, 1991. "Interest rates and the conduct of monetary policy," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 7-30, January.
    3. Peter C. B. Phillips & Bruce E. Hansen, 1990. "Statistical Inference in Instrumental Variables Regression with I(1) Processes," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(1), pages 99-125.
    4. N. Gregory Mankiw & Jeffrey A. Miron, 1986. "The Changing Behavior of the Term Structure of Interest Rates," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 101(2), pages 211-228.
    5. Smirlock, Michael J & Yawitz, Jess B, 1985. " Asset Returns, Discount Rate Changes, and Market Efficiency," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 40(4), pages 1141-1158, September.
    6. White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-838, May.
    7. Cook, Timothy & Hahn, Thomas, 1988. "The Information Content of Discount Rate Announcements and Their Effect on Market Interest Rates," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 20(2), pages 167-180, May.
    8. Robert J. Shiller & John Y. Campbell & Kermit L. Schoenholtz, 1983. "Forward Rates and Future Policy: Interpreting the Term Structure of Interest Rates," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 14(1), pages 173-224.
    9. Poole, William, 1991. "Interest rates and the conduct of monetary policy : A comment," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 31-39, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Hardy, Daniel C., 1996. "Market reaction to changes in German official interest rates," Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies 1996,04, Deutsche Bundesbank.
    2. Daniel L. Thornton, 1996. "The information content of discount rate announcements: what's behind the announcement effect?," Working Papers 1994-032, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    3. Thornton, Daniel L., 2004. "The Fed and short-term rates: Is it open market operations, open mouth operations or interest rate smoothing?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 475-498, March.
    4. Kaketsis, Asimakis & Sarantis, Nicholas, 2006. "The effects of monetary policy changes on market interest rates in Greece: An event study approach," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 487-504.
    5. Gasbarro, Dominic & Monroe, Gary S., 2004. "The impact of monetary policy candidness on Australian financial markets," Journal of Multinational Financial Management, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 35-46, February.
    6. Muhammad Yasir, 2015. "Investigating the Real Shocks in the Discount Rate of Pakistan," South Asian Journal of Management Sciences (SAJMS), Iqra University, Iqra University, vol. 9(1), pages 10-14, Spring.
    7. Galindo, Arturo J. & Maloney, William F., 2002. "Second moments in speculative attack models: panel evidence," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 97-129, January.
    8. Choi, Woon Gyu, 1999. "Estimating the Discount Rate Policy Reaction Function of the Monetary Authority," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(4), pages 379-401, July-Aug..
    9. Michael J. Dueker & Daniel L. Thornton, 1994. "Asymmetry in the prime rate and firms' preference for internal finance," Working Papers 1994-017, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

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