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Monetary Policy and the Term Structure of Interest Rates

  • Federico Ravenna
  • University of California
  • Juha Seppala
  • University of Illinois

We study how well a New Keynesian business cycle model can explain the observed behavior of nominal interest rates. We focus on two puzzles raised in previous literature. First, Donaldson, Johnsen, and Mehra (1990) show that while in the U.S. nominal term structure the interest rates are pro-cyclical and term spreads counter-cyclical the stochastic growth model predicts that the interest rates are counter-cyclical and term spreads pro-cyclical. Second, according to Backus, Gregory, and Zin (1989) the standard general equilibrium asset pricing model can account for neither the sign nor the magnitude of average risk premiums in forward prices. Hence, the standard model is unable to explain rejections of the expectations hypothesis. We show that a New Keynesian model with habit-persistent preferences and a monetary policy feedback rule produces pro-cyclical interest rates, counter-cyclical term spreads, and creates enough volatility in the risk premium to account for the rejections of expectations hypothesis. Moreover, unlike Buraschi and Jiltsov (2005), we identify the systematic monetary policy, not monetary policy shocks, as the key factor behind rejections of expectations hypothesis.

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Paper provided by Society for Computational Economics in its series Computing in Economics and Finance 2006 with number 197.

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Date of creation: 04 Jul 2006
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Handle: RePEc:sce:scecfa:197
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  1. Buraschi, Andrea & Jiltsov, Alexei, 2005. "Inflation risk premia and the expectations hypothesis," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 429-490, February.
  2. Oleksiy Kryvtsov & Peter J. Klenow, 2004. "State-Dependent or Time-Dependent Pricing: Does It Matter For Recent U.S. Inflation?," Computing in Economics and Finance 2004 277, Society for Computational Economics.
  3. Nakajima, Tomoyuki, 2005. "A business cycle model with variable capacity utilization and demand disturbances," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(5), pages 1331-1360, July.
  4. Geert Bekaert & Seonghoon Cho & Antonio Moreno, 2010. "New Keynesian Macroeconomics and the Term Structure," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 42(1), pages 33-62, 02.
  5. Pau Rabanal & Juan Rubio-Ramírez, 2008. "Comparing new Keynesian models in the Euro area: a Bayesian approach," Spanish Economic Review, Springer, vol. 10(1), pages 23-40, March.
  6. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1978. "Asset Prices in an Exchange Economy," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(6), pages 1429-45, November.
  7. Seppala, Juha, 2004. "The term structure of real interest rates: theory and evidence from UK index-linked bonds," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(7), pages 1509-1549, October.
  8. Carl E. Walsh, 2003. "Monetary Theory and Policy, 2nd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 2, volume 1, number 0262232316, June.
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