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A note on the expectations hypothesis at the founding of the Fed

  • Clemens J. M. Kool
  • Daniel L. Thornton

One of the most influential tests of the expectations hypothesis is Mankiw and Miron (1986), who found that the spread between the long-term and short-term rates provided predictive power for the short-term rate before the Fed's founding but not after. They suggested that the failure of the expectations hypothesis after the Fed's founding was due to the Fed's practice of smoothing short-term interest rates. We show that their finding that the expectations hypothesis fares better prior to the Fed's founding is due to the fact that the test they employ tends to generate results that are more favorable to the expectations hypothesis during periods when there is extreme volatility in the short-term rate. (Earlier version titled: The expectations theory and the founding of the Fed: another look at the evidence)

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis in its series Working Papers with number 2000-004.

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Date of creation: 2003
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Publication status: Published in Journal of Banking and Finance, December 2004, 28(12), pp. 3055-68
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:2000-004
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  1. Perron, P, 1988. "The Great Crash, The Oil Price Shock And The Unit Root Hypothesis," Papers 338, Princeton, Department of Economics - Econometric Research Program.
  2. Geert Bekaert & Robert J. Hodrick, 2000. "Expectations Hypotheses Tests," NBER Working Papers 7609, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Fishe, Raymond P H & Wohar, Mark, 1990. "The Adjustment of Expectations to a Change in Regime: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(4), pages 968-76, September.
  4. N. Gregory Mankiw & Jeffrey A. Miron & David N. Weil, 1987. "The Adjustment of Expectations to a Change in Regime: A Study of the Founding of the Federal Reserve," NBER Working Papers 2124, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. N. Gregory Mankiw & Jeffrey A. Miron, 1985. "The Changing Behavior of the Term Structure of Interest Rates," NBER Working Papers 1669, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. 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.
  7. Mankiw, N Gregory & Miron, Jeffrey A & Weil, David N, 1990. "The Adjustment of Expectations to a Change in Regime: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(4), pages 977-79, September.
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