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A Scorecard for Indexed Government Debt

  • John Y. Campbell
  • Robert J. Shiller

Within the last five years, Canada, Sweden and New Zealand have joined the ranks of the United Kingdom and other countries in issuing government bonds that are indexed to inflation. Some observers of the experience in these countries have argued that the United States should follow suit. This paper provides an overview of the issues surrounding debt indexation, and it tries to answer three empirical questions about indexed debt. First, how different would the returns on indexed bonds be from the returns on existing US debt instruments? Second, how would indexed bonds affect the government's average financing costs? Third, how might the Federal Reserve be able to use the information contained in the prices of indexed bonds to help formulate monetary policy? The paper concludes with a more speculative discussion of the possible consequences of increased use of indexed debt contracts by the private sector.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 5587.

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Date of creation: May 1996
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as A Scorecard for Indexed Government Debt , John Y. Campbell, Robert J. Shiller. in NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1996, Volume 11 , Bernanke and Rotemberg. 1996
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5587
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  1. Campbell, John Y, 1996. "Understanding Risk and Return," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(2), pages 298-345, April.
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  3. John Y. Campbell, 1995. "Some Lessons from the Yield Curve," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1713, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
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  7. Campbell, John Y & Shiller, Robert J, 1991. "Yield Spreads and Interest Rate Movements: A Bird's Eye View," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(3), pages 495-514, May.
  8. Mishkin, F.S., 1988. "What Does The Term Structure Tell Us About Future Inflation?," Papers fb-_88-29, Columbia - Graduate School of Business.
  9. Fama, Eugene F & French, Kenneth R, 1992. " The Cross-Section of Expected Stock Returns," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(2), pages 427-65, June.
  10. Robert J. Barro, 1995. "Optimal Debt Management," NBER Working Papers 5327, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. S.A.B. Page & Sandra Trollope, 1974. "An International Survey of Indexing and Its Effects," National Institute Economic Review, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, vol. 70(1), pages 46-59, November.
  12. Campbell, John Y & Ammer, John, 1993. " What Moves the Stock and Bond Markets? A Variance Decomposition for Long-Term Asset Returns," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 48(1), pages 3-37, March.
  13. David G. Barr & John Y. Campbell, 1995. "Inflation, Real Interest Rates and the Bond Market: A Study of UK Nominal Index-Linked Government Bond Prices," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1731, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  14. King, Mervyn, 1995. "Credibility and Monetary Policy: Theory and Evidence," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 42(1), pages 1-19, February.
  15. Breeden, Douglas T & Gibbons, Michael R & Litzenberger, Robert H, 1989. " Empirical Tests of the Consumption-Oriented CAPM," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 44(2), pages 231-62, June.
  16. Boudoukh, Jacob & Whitelaw, Robert F, 1993. "Liquidity as a Choice Variable: A Lesson from the Japanese Government Bond Market," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 6(2), pages 265-92.
  17. Alessandro Missale & Olivier Jean Blanchard, 1991. "The Debt Burden and Debt Maturity," NBER Working Papers 3944, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Robert B. Barsky & Miles S. Kimball & F. Thomas Juster & Matthew D. Shapiro, 1995. "Preference Parameters and Behavioral Heterogeneity: An Experimental Approach in the Health and Retirement Survey," NBER Working Papers 5213, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Fama, Eugene F & Bliss, Robert R, 1987. "The Information in Long-Maturity Forward Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 680-92, September.
  20. 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.
  21. Mishkin, Frederic S, 1990. "The Information in the Longer Maturity Term Structure about Future Inflation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(3), pages 815-28, August.
  22. Fischer, Stanley & Summers, Lawrence H, 1989. "Should Governments Learn to Live with Inflation?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(2), pages 382-87, May.
  23. John Geanakoplos & Martin Shubik, 1989. "The Capital Asset Pricing Model as a General Equilibrium with Incomplete Markets," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 913, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  24. Bohn, Henning, 1988. "Why do we have nominal government debt?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 127-140, January.
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