Working Paper

Can Spanned Term Structure Factors Drive Stochastic Yield Volatility?

Abstract: The ability of the usual factors from empirical arbitrage-free representations of the term structure?that is, spanned factors?to account for interest rate volatility dynamics has been much debated. We examine this issue with a comprehensive set of new arbitrage-free term structure specifications that allow for spanned stochastic volatility to be linked to one or more of the yield curve factors. Using U.S. Treasury yields, we find that much realized stochastic volatility cannot be associated with spanned term structure factors. However, a simulation study reveals that the usual realized volatility metric is misleading when yields contain plausible measurement noise. We argue that other metrics should be used to validate stochastic volatility models.

Keywords: model validation; term structure modeling; interest rate risk; arbitrage-free Nelson-Siegel model;

JEL Classification: C52; E43; C51; G12;

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Bibliographic Information

Provider: Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco

Part of Series: Working Paper Series

Publication Date: 2014-01-16

Number: 2014-3

Pages: 30 pages