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Binscatter, or a binned scatter plot, is a very popular tool in applied microeconomics. It provides a flexible, yet parsimonious way of visualizing and summarizing mean, quantile, and other nonparametric regression functions in large data sets. It is also often used for informal evaluation of substantive hypotheses such as linearity or monotonicity of the unknown function. This paper presents a foundational econometric analysis of binscatter, offering an array of theoretical and practical results that aid both understanding current practices (that is, their validity or lack thereof) as well ...
Preparing for Takeoff? Professional Forecasters and the June 2013 FOMC Meeting
Following the June 18-19 Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting different measures of short-term interest rates increased notably. In the chart below, we plot two such measures: the two-year Treasury yield and the one-year overnight indexed swap (OIS) forward rate, one year in the future. The vertical line indicates the final day of the June FOMC meeting. To what extent did this rise in rates following the June FOMC meeting reflect a shift in the expected future path of the federal funds rate (FFR)? Market participants and policy makers often directly read the expected path from ...
Review of New York Fed studies on the effects of post-crisis banking reforms
In 2017, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York initiated a project to examine the effects of post-crisis reforms on bank performance and vulnerability. The project, which was completed in June 2018, consisted of twelve studies evaluating a wide set of regulatory changes. The primary focus was how these regulatory changes affected the risk taking, funding costs, and profitability of banks, as well as their impact on liquidity. In this article, the authors survey the twelve papers that make up the project and place the principal findings in the context of the current academic and policymaking ...
Changing Risk-Return Profiles
Are stock returns predictable? This question is a perennially popular subject of debate. In this post, we highlight some results from our recent working paper, where we investigate the matter. Rather than focusing on a single object like the forecasted mean or median, we look at the entire distribution of stock returns and find that the realized volatility of stock returns, especially financial sector stock returns, has strong predictive content for the future distribution of stock returns. This is a robust feature of the data since all of our results are obtained with real-time analyses ...
A Large Bayesian VAR of the United States Economy
We model the United States macroeconomic and financial sectors using a formal and unified econometric model. Through shrinkage, our Bayesian VAR provides a flexible framework for modeling the dynamics of thirty-one variables, many of which are tracked by the Federal Reserve. We show how the model can be used for understanding key features of the data, constructing counterfactual scenarios, and evaluating the macroeconomic environment both retrospectively and prospectively. Considering its breadth and versatility for policy applications, our modeling approach gives a reliable, reduced form ...
COVID Response: The Commercial Paper Funding Facility
The Federal Reserve reestablished the Commercial Paper Funding Facility (CPFF 2020) in response to the disruptions in the commercial paper market triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic shutdowns. The CPFF 2020 was designed to support market functioning and provide a liquidity backstop for the commercial paper market. This paper provides an overview of the CPFF 2020, including detailing the facility’s design, documenting its usage, and describing its impact on commercial paper markets. In addition, we compare the market conditions and facility design in CPFF 2020 to that ...
Forecasting Interest Rates over the Long Run
In a previous post, we showed how market rates on U.S. Treasuries violate the expectations hypothesis because of time-varying risk premia. In this post, we provide evidence that term structure models have outperformed direct market-based measures in forecasting interest rates. This suggests that term structure models can play a role in long-run planning for public policy objectives such as assessing the viability of Social Security.
Treasury Term Premia: 1961-Present
Treasury yields can be decomposed into two components: expectations of the future path of short-term Treasury yields and the Treasury term premium. The term premium is the compensation that investors require for bearing the risk that short-term Treasury yields do not evolve as they expected. Studying the term premium over a long time period allows us to investigate what has historically driven changes in Treasury yields. In this blog post, we estimate and analyze the Treasury term premium from 1961 to the present, and make these estimates available for download here.
Discounting the Long-Run
Expectations about the path of interest rates matter for many economic decisions. Three sources for obtaining information about such expectations are available. The first is extrapolation from historical data. The second consists of surveys of expectations. The third are expectations drawn from financial market prices, often referred to as market expectations. The last are usually considered to be model-based expectations, because, generally, a model is needed to reliably extract expectations from current prices. In this post, we explain the need for and usage of term structure models for ...
Decomposing real and nominal yield curves
We present an affine term structure model for the joint pricing of Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) and Treasury yield curves that adjusts for TIPS? relative illiquidity. Our estimation using linear regressions is computationally very fast and can accommodate unspanned factors. The baseline specification with six principal components extracted from Treasury and TIPS yields, in combination with a liquidity factor, generates negligibly small pricing errors for both real and nominal yields. Model-implied expected inflation provides a better prediction of actual inflation than ...