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Author:Hanson, Samuel 

Working Paper
Monetary policy and long-term real rates
Changes in monetary policy have surprisingly strong effects on forward real rates in the distant future. A 100 basis-point increase in the 2-year nominal yield on an FOMC announcement day is associated with a 42 basis-point increase in the 10-year forward real rate. This finding is at odds with standard macro models based on sticky nominal prices, which imply that monetary policy cannot move real rates over a horizon longer than that over which all prices in the economy can readjust. Rather, the responsiveness of long-term real rates to monetary shocks appears to reflect changes in term premia. One mechanism that may generate such variation in term premia is based on demand effects coming from "yield-oriented" investors. We find some evidence supportive of this channel.
AUTHORS: Hanson, Samuel; Stein, Jeremy C.
DATE: 2012

Working Paper
Banks as Patient Fixed Income Investors
We examine the business model of traditional commercial banks in the context of their co-existence with shadow banks. While both types of intermediaries create safe "money-like" claims, they go about this in very different ways. Traditional banks create safe claims with a combination of costly equity capital and fixed income assets that allows their depositors to remain "sleepy": they do not have to pay attention to transient fluctuations in the mark-to-market value of bank assets. In contrast, shadow banks create safe claims by giving their investors an early exit option that allows them to seize collateral and liquidate it at the first sign of trouble. Thus traditional banks have a stable source of cheap funding, while shadow banks are subject to runs and fire-sale losses. These different funding models in turn influence the kinds of assets that traditional banks and shadow banks hold in equilibrium: traditional banks have a comparative advantage at holding fixed-income assets that have only modest fundamental risk, but are relatively illiquid and have substantial transitory price volatility.
AUTHORS: Hanson, Samuel; Shleifer, Andrei; Stein, Jeremy C.; Vishny, Robert W.
DATE: 2014-02-10

Estimating probabilities of default
We conduct a systematic comparison of confidence intervals around estimated probabilities of default (PD), using several analytical approaches from large-sample theory and bootstrapped small-sample confidence intervals. We do so for two different PD estimation methods-cohort and duration (intensity)-using twenty-two years of credit ratings data. We find that the bootstrapped intervals for the duration-based estimates are surprisingly tight when compared with the more commonly used (asymptotic) Wald interval. We find that even with these relatively tight confidence intervals, it is impossible to distinguish notch-level PDs for investment grade ratings-for example, a PDAA- from a PDA+. However, once the speculative grade barrier is crossed, we are able to distinguish quite cleanly notch-level estimated default probabilities. Conditioning on the state of the business cycle helps; it is easier to distinguish adjacent PDs in recessions than in expansions.
AUTHORS: Hanson, Samuel; Schuermann, Til
DATE: 2004

Interest rate conundrums in the twenty-first century
Long-term nominal interest rates are known to be highly sensitive to high-frequency (daily or monthly) movements in short-term rates. We find that, since 2000, this high-frequency sensitivity has grown even stronger in U.S. data. By contrast, the association between low-frequency changes (at six- or twelve-month horizons) in short- and long-term rates, which was also strong before 2000, has weakened substantially. We show that this puzzling post-2000 combination of high-frequency ?excess sensitivity? and low-frequency ?decoupling? of short- and long-term rates arises because increases in short rates temporarily raise the term premium on long-term bonds, leading long rates to temporarily overreact to changes in short rates. The post-2000 frequency-dependent sensitivity of long-term rates can be understood using a model in which (i) declines in short rates lead to outward shifts in the demand for long-term bonds (for example, because some investors ?reach for yield?) and (ii) the arbitrage response to these demand shifts is slow. We discuss the implications of our findings for the transmission of monetary policy and the validity of the event-study methodologies.
AUTHORS: Hanson, Samuel; Wright, Jonathan H.; Lucca, David O.
DATE: 2017-03-01

Discussion Paper
The Sensitivity of Long-Term Interest Rates: A Tale of Two Frequencies
The sensitivity of long-term interest rates to short-term interest rates is a central feature of the yield curve. This post, which draws on our Staff Report, shows that long- and short-term rates co-move to a surprising extent at high frequencies (over daily or monthly periods). However, since 2000, they co-move far less at lower frequencies (over six months or a year). We discuss potential explanations for this finding and its implications for the transmission of monetary policy.
AUTHORS: Lucca, David O.; Wright, Jonathan H.; Hanson, Samuel
DATE: 2019-03-04


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