Report

The term structure of expectations and bond yields


Abstract: Bond yields can be decomposed into expected short rates and term premiums. We directly measure the former using all available U.S. professional forecasts and obtain the latter as the difference between bond yields and survey-based expected short rates. While the behavior of nominal and real short rate expectations is consistent with standard macroeconomic theory, term premiums account for the bulk of the cross-sectional and time series variation in yields. They also largely explain the yield curve's reaction to a host of structural economic shocks. This dramatic failure of the expectations hypothesis highlights the importance of term premiums for macro-financial transmission.

Keywords: term premiums; expectations formation; survey forecasts; monetary policy; business cycle fluctuations;

JEL Classification: D84; E44; G12;

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Bibliographic Information

Provider: Federal Reserve Bank of New York

Part of Series: Staff Reports

Publication Date: 2017-02-01

Number: 775