Why Does the Yield-Curve Slope Predict Recessions?

Abstract: Many studies document the predictive power of the slope of the Treasury yield curve for forecasting recessions.2 This work is motivated, for example, by the empirical evidence in figure 1, which shows the term-structure slope, measured by the spread between the yields on ten-year and two-year U.S. Treasury securities, and shading that denotes U.S. recessions (dated by the National Bureau of Economic Research). Note that the yield-curve slope becomes negative before each economic recession since the 1970s.3 That is, an ?inversion? of the yield curve, in which short-maturity interest rates exceed long-maturity rates, is typically associated with a recession in the near future.

Keywords: Interest rates; recessions;

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Bibliographic Information

Provider: Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago

Part of Series: Chicago Fed Letter

Publication Date: 2018

Order Number: 404