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A Simple Account of the Behavior of Long-Term Interest Rates

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  • John Y. Campbell
  • Robert J. Shiller

Abstract

Recent empirical research on the term structure of interest rates has shown that the long-term interest rate is well described by adistributed lag on short-term interest rates, but does not conform to the expectations theory of the term structure. It has been suggested that the long rate "overreacts" to the short rate. This paper presents aunified taxonomy of risk premia, or deviations from the expectations theory. This enables the hypothesis of overreaction to be formally stated. It is shown that, if anything, the long rate has underreacted to the short rate. However, the independent movement of the long rate is primarily responsible for the failure of the expectations theory.

Suggested Citation

  • John Y. Campbell & Robert J. Shiller, 1983. "A Simple Account of the Behavior of Long-Term Interest Rates," NBER Working Papers 1203, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1203 Note: ME
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    1. 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.
    2. Franco Modigliani & Richard Sutch, 1967. "Debt Management and the Term Structure of Interest Rates: An Empirical Analysis of Recent Experience," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75, pages 569-569.
    3. Lars Peter Hansen & Thomas J. Sargent, 1981. "Exact linear rational expectations models: specification and estimation," Staff Report 71, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    4. Reuben A. Kessel, 1965. "The Cyclical Behavior of the Term Structure of Interest Rates," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number kess65-1, January.
    5. Modigliani, Franco & Shiller, Robert J, 1973. "Inflation, Rational Expectations and the Term Structure of Interest Rates," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 40(157), pages 12-43, February.
    6. Robert J. Shiller & John Y. Campbell & Kermit L. Schoenholtz, 1983. "Forward Rates and Future Policy: Interpreting the Term Structure of Interest Rates," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 14(1), pages 173-224.
    7. Shiller, Robert J, 1979. "The Volatility of Long-Term Interest Rates and Expectations Models of the Term Structure," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1190-1219, December.
    8. Sargent, Thomas J., 1979. "A note on maximum likelihood estimation of the rational expectations model of the term structure," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 133-143, January.
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