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The Predictive Power of the Yield Spread: Further Evidence and a Structural Interpretation

  • Carlo Favero
  • Iryna Kaminska
  • Ulf Soderstrom

This paper brings together two strands of the empirical macro literature:the reduced-form evidence that the yield spread helps in forecasting output and the structural evidence on the difficulties of estimating the effect of monetary policy on output in an intertemporal Euler equation. We show that including a short-term interest rate and inflation in the forecasting equation improves the forecasting performance of the spread for future output but the coefficients on the short rate and inflation are difficult to interpret using a standard macroeconomic framework. A decomposition of the yield spread into an expectations-related component and a term premium allows a better understanding of the forecasting model. In fact, the best forecasting model for output is obtained by considering the term premium, the short-term interest rate and inflation as predictors. We provide a possible structural interpretation of these results by allowing for time-varying risk aversion, linearly related to our estimate of the term premium, in an intertemporal Euler equation for output.

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Paper provided by IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University in its series Working Papers with number 280.

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Date of creation: 2005
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Handle: RePEc:igi:igierp:280
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  1. Arturo Estrella & Anthony P. Rodrigues & Sebastian Schich, 2003. "How Stable is the Predictive Power of the Yield Curve? Evidence from Germany and the United States," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(3), pages 629-644, August.
  2. Hamilton, James D & Kim, Dong Heon, 2002. "A Reexamination of the Predictability of Economic Activity Using the Yield Spread," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 34(2), pages 340-60, May.
  3. Arturo Estrella, 2005. "Why Does the Yield Curve Predict Output and Inflation?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(505), pages 722-744, 07.
  4. Jean Boivin & Marc P. Giannoni, 2006. "Has Monetary Policy Become More Effective?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(3), pages 445-462, August.
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  16. Manmohan S. Kumar & Avinash Persaud, 2001. "Pure Contagion and Investors Shifting Risk Appetite; Analytical Issues and Empirical Evidence," IMF Working Papers 01/134, International Monetary Fund.
  17. Harvey, Campbell R., 1988. "The real term structure and consumption growth," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 305-333, December.
  18. Feroli Michael, 2004. "Monetary Policy and the Information Content of the Yield Spread," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 4(1), pages 1-17, September.
  19. Michael Dotsey, 1998. "The predictive content of the interest rate term spread for future economic growth," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Sum, pages 31-51.
  20. Mardi Dungey & Vance L Martin & Adrian R Pagan, 2000. "A multivariate latent factor decomposition of international bond yield spreads," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(6), pages 697-715.
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