Jonathan H. Wright
Abstract: This paper provides cross-country empirical evidence on term premia, inflation uncertainty, and their relationship. It has three components. First, I construct a panel of zero-coupon nominal government bond yields spanning ten countries and eighteen years. From these, I construct forward rates and decompose these into expected future short-term interest rates and term premiums, using both statistical methods (an affine term structure model) and using surveys. Second, I construct alternative measures of time-varying inflation uncertainty for these countries, using actual inflation data and survey expectations. I discuss some possible determinants of inflation uncertainty. Finally, I use panel data methods to investigate the relationship between term premium estimates and inflation uncertainty measures, and find a strong positive relationship. The economic determinants of term premia remain mysterious; but this evidence points to uncertainty about intermediate- to long-run inflation rates being a substantial part of the explanation for why yield curves slope up.
Keywords: Term premiums, inflation uncertainty, inflation targeting, bond pricingFull paper (581 KB PDF) | Full paper (Screen Reader Version)