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Testing for Instability in Factor Structure of Yield Curves

A widely relied upon but a formally untested consideration is the issue of stability in actors underlying the term structure of interest rates. In testing for stability, practitioners as well as academics have employed ad yhoc techniques such as splitting the sample into a few sub-periods and determining whether the factor loadings have appeared to be similar over all sub-periods. Various authors have found mixed evidence on stability in the actors. In this paper we develop a formal testing procedure to evaluate the factor structure stability of the US zero coupon yield term structure. We find the factor structure of level to be unstable over the sample period considered. The slope and curvature factor structures are however found to be stable. Common structural changes affecting all interest rate maturities have fostered instability in the level factor. We corroborate the literature that variances (volatility) explained by the level, slope, and curvature factors are unstable over time. We find that the volatility of slope factor is sensitive to shocks affecting the short rates and the volatility of curvature factor is sensitive to shocks affecting the medium and long rates. Finally, we find evidence of the presence of common economic shocks affecting the level and slope factors, unlike slope and curvature factors that responded differently to economic shocks and were unaffected by any common instabilities.

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Paper provided by Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University in its series Center for Policy Research Working Papers with number 96.

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Length: 53 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:max:cprwps:96
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  1. Christophe P�rignon & Christophe Villa, 2006. "Sources of Time Variation in the Covariance Matrix of Interest Rates," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 79(3), pages 1535-1550, May.
  2. Garcia, R. & Perron, P., 1994. "An Analysis of the Real Interest rate Under Regime Shifts," Cahiers de recherche 9428, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
  3. Andrews, Donald W K, 1993. "Tests for Parameter Instability and Structural Change with Unknown Change Point," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(4), pages 821-56, July.
  4. Diebold, Francis X. & Li, Canlin, 2006. "Forecasting the term structure of government bond yields," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 130(2), pages 337-364, February.
  5. 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.
  6. Martin D.D. Evans & Karen K. Lewis, 1993. "Do Expected Shifts in Inflation Affect Estimates of the Long-Run Fisher Relation?," Working Papers 93-06, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
  7. Robert R. Bliss, 1997. "Movements in the term structure of interest rates," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, issue Q 4, pages 16-33.
  8. Donald W.K. Andrews & Werner Ploberger, 1992. "Optimal Tests When a Nuisance Parameter Is Present Only Under the Alternative," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1015, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  9. Ang, Andrew & Bekaert, Geert, 2002. "Regime Switches in Interest Rates," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(2), pages 163-82, April.
  10. Hamilton, James D, 1989. "A New Approach to the Economic Analysis of Nonstationary Time Series and the Business Cycle," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 357-84, March.
  11. Chantziara, Thalia & Skiadopoulos, George, 2008. "Can the dynamics of the term structure of petroleum futures be forecasted? Evidence from major markets," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 962-985, May.
  12. Robert R. Bliss & David C. Smith, 1997. "The stability of interest rate processes," Working Paper 97-13, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  13. Russell Davidson & James G. MacKinnon, 1996. "The Size and Power of Bootstrap Tests," Working Papers 932, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  14. Davidson, Russell & MacKinnon, James G., 1999. "The Size Distortion Of Bootstrap Tests," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 15(03), pages 361-376, June.
  15. Gray, Stephen F., 1996. "Modeling the conditional distribution of interest rates as a regime-switching process," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 27-62, September.
  16. Chan, K C, et al, 1992. " An Empirical Comparison of Alternative Models of the Short-Term Interest Rate," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(3), pages 1209-27, July.
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