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Fiscal Policy and the Term Structure: Evidence from the Case of Italy in the EMS and the EMU Periods

  • Carlo A. Favero
  • Stefano W. Giglio

We study the relationship between the term structure of interest rates and fiscal policy by considering the Italian case. Empirical analysis has been so far rather inconclusive on this important topic. We abscribe such evidence to three problems: identification, regime-switching and maturity effects. All these aspects are particularly relevant to the Italian case. We propose a parsimonious model with three factors to represent the whole yield curve, and we consider yield differentials between Italian and German Government bonds. To take into account the possibility of regime-switching, we explicitly include a hidden two-state Markov chain that represents market expectations. The model is estimated using Bayesian econometric techniques. We find that government debt and its evolution significantly influence the yield of government bonds, that such effects are maturity dependent and regime-dependent. Hence when investigating the effect of fiscal policy on the term-structure it is of crucial importance to allow for multiple regimes in the estimation.

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Paper provided by IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University in its series Working Papers with number 312.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:igi:igierp:312
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  1. Evans, Charles L. & Marshall, David A., 1998. "Monetary policy and the term structure of nominal interest rates: Evidence and theory," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 53-111, December.
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  3. Silvia Ardagna & Francesco Caselli & Timothy Lane, 2005. "Fiscal Discipline and the Cost of Public Debt Service: Some Estimates for OECD Countries," CEP Discussion Papers dp0670, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  4. Iryna Kaminska & Andrea Carriero & Carlo A. Favero, 2004. "Financial Factors, Macroeconomic Information and the Expectations Theory of the Term Structure of Interest Rates," Computing in Economics and Finance 2004 76, Society for Computational Economics.
  5. Ang, Andrew & Piazzesi, Monika, 2003. "A no-arbitrage vector autoregression of term structure dynamics with macroeconomic and latent variables," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(4), pages 745-787, May.
  6. Dahlquist, Magnus & Svensson, Lars E O, 1996. " Estimating the Term Structure of Interest Rates for Monetary Policy Analysis," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 98(2), pages 163-83, June.
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  8. John Y. Campbell & Robert J. Shiller, 1989. "Yield Spreads and Interest Rate Movements: A Bird's Eye View," NBER Working Papers 3153, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Lorenzo Codogno & Carlo Favero & Alessandro Missale, 2003. "Yield spreads on EMU government bonds," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 18(37), pages 503-532, October.
  10. Carlo Favero & Francesco Giavazzi & Luigi Spaventa, 1996. "High Yields: The Spread on German Interest Rates," NBER Working Papers 5408, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Diebold, Francis X. & Rudebusch, Glenn D. & Borag[caron]an Aruoba, S., 2006. "The macroeconomy and the yield curve: a dynamic latent factor approach," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 131(1-2), pages 309-338.
  12. Bernadell, Carlos & Coche, Joachim & Nyholm, Ken, 2005. "Yield curve prediction for the strategic investor," Working Paper Series 0472, European Central Bank.
  13. Qiang Dai & Thomas Philippon, 2005. "Fiscal Policy and the Term Structure of Interest Rates," NBER Working Papers 11574, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  15. Evans, Paul, 1985. "Do Large Deficits Produce High Interest Rates?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(1), pages 68-87, March.
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  17. Rudebusch, Glenn D., 1995. "Federal Reserve interest rate targeting, rational expectations, and the term structure," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 245-274, April.
  18. Gregory R. Duffee, 2002. "Term Premia and Interest Rate Forecasts in Affine Models," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(1), pages 405-443, 02.
  19. Peter Hordahl & Oreste Tristani & David Vestin, 2003. "A joint econometric model of macroeconomic and term structure," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Mar.
  20. Nelson, Charles R & Siegel, Andrew F, 1987. "Parsimonious Modeling of Yield Curves," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 60(4), pages 473-89, October.
  21. Eric M. Engen & R. Glenn Hubbard, 2004. "Federal Government Debt and Interest Rates," NBER Working Papers 10681, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Ardagna, Silvia & Caselli, Francesco & Lane, Timothy, 2004. "Fiscal discipline and the cost of public dept service: some estiames for OECD countries," Working Paper Series 0411, European Central Bank.
  23. Plosser, Charles I., 1987. "Fiscal policy and the term structure," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 343-367, September.
  24. Taylor, John B., 1993. "Discretion versus policy rules in practice," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 195-214, December.
  25. Albert, James H & Chib, Siddhartha, 1993. "Bayes Inference via Gibbs Sampling of Autoregressive Time Series Subject to Markov Mean and Variance Shifts," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 11(1), pages 1-15, January.
  26. Olivier J. Blanchard & Lawrence H. Summers, 1984. "Perspectives on High World Real Interest Rates," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 15(2), pages 273-334.
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