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A Defense of Traditional Hypotheses about the Term Structure of Interest Rates

  • Campbell, John

Expectations theories of asset returns may be interpreted either as stating that risk premia are zero or that they are constant through time. Under the former interpretation, different versions of the expectations theory of the term structure are inconsistent with one another, but I show that this does not necessarily carry over to the constant risk premium interpretation of the theory. I present a general equilibrium example in which different types of risk premium are constant through time and dependent only on maturity. Furthermore, I argue that differences among expectations theories are second-order effects of bond yield variability. I develop an approximate linearized framework for analysis of the term structure in which these differences disappear, and I test its accuracy in practice using data from the CRSP government bond tapes.

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File URL: http://dash.harvard.edu/bitstream/handle/1/3207698/campbell_defensetraditional.pdf
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Paper provided by Harvard University Department of Economics in its series Scholarly Articles with number 3207698.

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Date of creation: 1986
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Journal of Finance
Handle: RePEc:hrv:faseco:3207698
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Web page: http://www.economics.harvard.edu/

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  1. Campbell, John Y & Shiller, Robert J, 1984. "A Simple Account of the Behavior of Long-Term Interest Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(2), pages 44-48, May.
  2. Robert J. Shiller & John Y. Campbell & Kermit L. Schoenholtz, 1983. "Forward Rates and Future Policy: Interpreting the Term Structure of Interest Rates," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 667, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  3. N. Gregory Mankiw & Lawrence H. Summers, 1984. "Do Long-Term Interest Rates Overreact to Short-Term Interest Rates?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 15(1), pages 223-248.
  4. Fama, Eugene F., 1984. "The information in the term structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 509-528, December.
  5. McCulloch, J Huston, 1971. "Measuring the Term Structure of Interest Rates," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 44(1), pages 19-31, January.
  6. Cox, John C & Ingersoll, Jonathan E, Jr & Ross, Stephen A, 1981. "A Re-examination of Traditional Hypotheses about the Term Structure of Interest Rates," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 36(4), pages 769-99, September.
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