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Greenspan’s conundrum and the Fed’s ability to affect long-term yields

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  • Daniel L. Thornton

Abstract

In February 2005 Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan noticed that the 10-year Treasury yields failed to increase despite a 150-basis-point increase in the federal funds rate as a “conundrum.” This paper shows that the connection between the 10-year yield and the federal funds rate was severed in the late 1980s, well in advance of Greenspan’s observation. The paper hypothesize that the change occurred because the Federal Open Market Committee switched from using the federal funds rate as an operating instrument to using it to implement monetary policy and presents evidence from a variety of sources supporting the hypothesis. The analysis has implications for central banks’ interest rate policies.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniel L. Thornton, 2012. "Greenspan’s conundrum and the Fed’s ability to affect long-term yields," Working Papers 2012-036, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:2012-036
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    File URL: http://research.stlouisfed.org/wp/2012/2012-036.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Diebold, Francis X. & Chen, Celia, 1996. "Testing structural stability with endogenous breakpoint A size comparison of analytic and bootstrap procedures," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 221-241, January.
    2. Glenn D. Rudebusch & Eric T. Swanson & Tao Wu, 2006. "The Bond Yield "Conundrum" from a Macro-Finance Perspective," Monetary and Economic Studies, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan, vol. 24(S1), pages 83-109, December.
    3. Massimo Guidolin & Daniel L. Thornton, 2010. "Predictions of short-term rates and the expectations hypothesis," Working Papers 2010-013, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
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    Cited by:

    1. Anna Cieslak & Pavol Povala, 2016. "Information in the Term Structure of Yield Curve Volatility," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 71(3), pages 1393-1436, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Federal funds rate ; Greenspan; Alan;

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