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Forecasting Consumption Growth with the Real Term Structure

  • Kwok Ping Tsang

From the log-linearized consumption Euler equation, consumption growth of any horizon m is a function of the expected real return of maturity m, and they are linked through the elasticity of intertemporal substitution (EIS). Instead of using only the 1- period return and consumption growth, this result allows us to use the term structure of interest rates to identify the EIS. Using quarterly US data from 1954Q1 to 2007Q4, GMM results show that the real term structure is unrelated to future consumption growth: after controlling for small sample bias, we cannot reject the hypothesis that the EIS is zero. However, allowing a break in 1979 changes the results dramatically: the EIS is around 0.4 in the first period and it drops to around 0.2 in the second period. Not only is the EIS smaller, the out-sample forecasting power of ex post real return also drops in the second subsample compared to a simple AR(1) model for consumption growth. I find a lower EIS also for annual data.

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Paper provided by Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number e07-14.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:vpi:wpaper:e07-14
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  1. Attanasio, O.P. & Browning, M., 1993. "Consumption Over the Life Cycle and Over the Business Cycle," Papers 9314, Tilburg - Center for Economic Research.
  2. Diebold, Francis X. & Rudebusch, Glenn D. & Borag[caron]an Aruoba, S., 2006. "The macroeconomy and the yield curve: a dynamic latent factor approach," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 131(1-2), pages 309-338.
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  9. Attanasio, Orazio P & Weber, Guglielmo, 1989. "Intertemporal Substitution, Risk Aversion and the Euler Equation for Consumption," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(395), pages 59-73, Supplemen.
  10. Blundell, Richard & Browning, Martin & Meghir, Costas, 1994. "Consumer Demand and the Life-Cycle Allocation of Household Expenditures," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(1), pages 57-80, January.
  11. Jonathan A. Parker & Christian Julliard, 2005. "Consumption Risk and the Cross Section of Expected Returns," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(1), pages 185-222, February.
  12. Nelson, Charles R & Kim, Myung J, 1993. " Predictable Stock Returns: The Role of Small Sample Bias," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 48(2), pages 641-61, June.
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  15. Chapman, David A., 1997. "The cyclical properties of consumption growth and the real term structure," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 145-172, July.
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