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Glenn Rudebusch and I finished another round of revisions of our paper “Interest Rates Under Falling Stars” which we just sent back to the American Economics Revies. This version includes a lot more details about our novel yield-curve model with a time-varying trend.

We will make the complete data and code available once the paper is published.

You can download the new version of the paper here.

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Together with my coauthors Aeimit Lakdawala and Philippe Mueller I have written a new paper on “Market-Based Monetary Policy Uncertainty” which you can download here. We propose a new, market-based measure of the uncertainty about future monetary policy decisions, using prices of Eurodollar options. Using this novel measure in hand we document new stylized facts about the role of uncertainty for the transmission of monetary policy to financial markets. Particularly intruiging, in my view, is a substantial drop in uncertainty around FOMC announcements, a finding that could be used to create a profitable trading strategy.

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Thomas Mertens and I wrote a post for the SF Fed Post on the current shape of the yield curve. This shape is a little odd, to say the least: The conventional ten-year-minus-three-month spread has declined substantially over the last year, but is still positive. By contrast, the five-minus-one-year spread has turned negative. What to make of this? Read the post here: Did the Yield Curve Flip? Will the Economy Dip?

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Glenn Rudebusch and I finished a new version of our paper “Interest Rates Under Falling Stars” which includes a lot of new material. Most importantly, we developed a new model for the yield curve that allows for shifting long-run trends and provides a new, fully Bayesian estimate of the equilibrium nominal interest rate \(i^\ast\).

You can download the new version of the paper here.

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Thomas and I wrote a second Economic Letter about the information in the yield curve for predicting recessions. Here we focus on what different measure of the shape of the yield curve—that is, which yield spread—appears to have the most information. We conclude that the classic 10-year minus 3-month spread is the most useful one. We also discuss the role of the term premium, and how to interpret this evidence. (Correlation is not causation!

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Selected Publications

Macro-finance theory implies that trend inflation and the equilibrium real interest rate are fundamental determinants of the yield curve. However, empirical models of the term structure of interest rates generally assume that these fundamentals are constant. We show that accounting for time variation in these underlying long-run trends is crucial for understanding the dynamics of Treasury yields and predicting excess bond returns. We introduce a new arbitrage-free model that captures the key role that long-run trends play for interest rates. The model also provides new, more plausible estimates of the term premium and accurate out-of-sample yield forecasts.
Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco Working Paper Series, 2019.

Restrictions on the risk-pricing in dynamic term structure models (DTSMs) tighten the link between cross-sectional and time-series variation of interest rates, and make absence of arbitrage useful for inference about expectations. This article presents a new econometric framework for estimation of affine Gaussian DTSMs under restrictions on risk prices, which addresses the issues of a large model space and of model uncertainty using a Bayesian approach. A simulation study demonstrates the good performance of the proposed method. Data for U.S. Treasury yields calls for tight restrictions on risk pricing: only level risk is priced, and only changes in the slope affect term premia. Incorporating the restrictions changes the model-implied short-rate expectations and term premia. Interest rate persistence is higher than in a maximally flexible model, hence expectations of future short rates are more variable—restrictions on risk prices help resolve the puzzle of implausibly stable short-rate expectations in this literature. Consistent with survey evidence and conventional macro wisdom, restricted models attribute a large share of the secular decline in long-term interest rates to expectations of future nominal short rates.
In Journal of Business and Economic Statistics, 2018.

A consensus has recently emerged that variables beyond the level, slope, and curvature of the yield curve can help predict bond returns. This paper shows that the statistical tests underlying this evidence are subject to serious small-sample distortions. We propose more robust tests, including a novel bootstrap procedure specifically designed to test the spanning hypothesis. We revisit the analysis in six published studies and find that the evidence against the spanning hypothesis is much weaker than it originally appeared. Our results pose a serious challenge to the prevailing consensus.
In Review of Financial Studies, 2017.

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