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On Biases in Tests of the Expecations Hypothesis of the Term Structure Of Interest Rates

  • Geert Bekaert
  • Robert J. Hodrick
  • David A. Marshall

We document extreme bias and dispersion in the small sample distributions of five standard regression tests of the expectations hypothesis of the term structure of interest rates. These biases derive from the extreme persistence in short interest rates. We derive approximate analytic expressions for these biases, and we characterize the small-sample distributions of these test statistics under a simple first-order autoregressive data generating process for the short rate. The biases are also present when the short rate is modeled with a more realistic regime-switching process. The differences between the small-sample distributions of test statistics and the asymptotic distributions partially reconcile the different inferences drawn when alternative tests are used to evaluate the expectations hypothesis. In general, the test statistics reject the expectations hypothesis more strongly and uniformly when they are evaluated using the small-sample distributions, as compared to the asymptotic distributions.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/t0191.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Technical Working Papers with number 0191.

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Date of creation: Jan 1996
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Publication status: published as Journal of Financial Economics, Vol.44 (June 1997): 309-348.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberte:0191
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  1. 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.
  2. Bollerslev, Tim & Chou, Ray Y. & Kroner, Kenneth F., 1992. "ARCH modeling in finance : A review of the theory and empirical evidence," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 52(1-2), pages 5-59.
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  4. Donald W.K. Andrews, 1988. "Heteroskedasticity and Autocorrelation Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimation," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 877R, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University, revised Jul 1989.
  5. Newey, Whitney K & West, Kenneth D, 1987. "A Simple, Positive Semi-definite, Heteroskedasticity and Autocorrelation Consistent Covariance Matrix," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(3), pages 703-08, May.
  6. Matthew Richardson & James H. Stock, 1990. "Drawing Inferences From Statistics Based on Multi-Year Asset Returns," NBER Working Papers 3335, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Hardouvelis, Gikas A., 1994. "The term structure spread and future changes in long and short rates in the G7 countries: Is there a puzzle?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 255-283, April.
  8. Robert E. Cumby & John Huizinga, 1990. "Testing The Autocorrelation Structure of Disturbances in Ordinary Least Squares and Instrumental Variables Regressions," NBER Technical Working Papers 0092, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Elliott, Graham & Stock, James H., 1994. "Inference in Time Series Regression When the Order of Integration of a Regressor is Unknown," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(3-4), pages 672-700, August.
  10. White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-38, May.
  11. Jorion, Philippe & Mishkin, Frederic, 1991. "A multicountry comparison of term-structure forecasts at long horizons," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 59-80, March.
  12. Robert F. Engle & Victor Ng & Michael Rothschild, 1988. "Asset Pricing with a Factor Arch Covariance Structure: Empirical Estimates for Treasury Bills," NBER Technical Working Papers 0065, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Hansen, Lars Peter, 1982. "Large Sample Properties of Generalized Method of Moments Estimators," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 1029-54, July.
  14. Hamilton, James D., 1988. "Rational-expectations econometric analysis of changes in regime : An investigation of the term structure of interest rates," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 12(2-3), pages 385-423.
  15. F. A. Lutz, 1940. "The Structure of Interest Rates," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 55(1), pages 36-63.
  16. Hodrick, Robert J, 1992. "Dividend Yields and Expected Stock Returns: Alternative Procedures for Inference and Measurement," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 5(3), pages 357-86.
  17. Stambaugh, Robert F., 1988. "The information in forward rates : Implications for models of the term structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 41-70, May.
  18. White, Halbert, 1982. "Maximum Likelihood Estimation of Misspecified Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 1-25, January.
  19. Tim Bollerslev, 1986. "Generalized autoregressive conditional heteroskedasticity," EERI Research Paper Series EERI RP 1986/01, Economics and Econometrics Research Institute (EERI), Brussels.
  20. repec:cup:etheor:v:10:y:1994:i:3-4:p:672-700 is not listed on IDEAS
  21. Geert Bekaert & Robert J. Hodrick & David Marshall, 1996. "On biases in tests of the expectations hypothesis of the term structure of interest rates," Working Paper Series, Issues in Financial Regulation WP-96-3, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  22. Bekaert, Geert & Harvey, Campbell R., 1997. "Emerging equity market volatility," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 29-77, January.
  23. N. Gregory Mankiw & Matthew D. Shapiro, 1985. "Do We Reject Too Often? Small Sample Properties of Tests of Rational Expectations Models," NBER Technical Working Papers 0051, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Richardson, Matthew & Stock, James H., 1989. "Drawing inferences from statistics based on multiyear asset returns," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 323-348, December.
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