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Abstract: We explore the role of evolving beliefs regarding the structure of the macroeconomy in improving our understanding of the term structure of interest rates within the context of a simple macro-finance model. Using quarterly vintages of real-time data and survey forecasts for the United States over the past 40 years, we show that a recursively estimated VAR on real GDP growth, inflation and the nominal short-term interest generates predictions that are more consistent with survey forecasts than a benchmark fixed-coefficient counterpart. We then estimate a simple term structure model under the assumption that the investors' risk attitude is driven by near-term expectations of the three state variables. When we allow for evolving beliefs about the macroeconomy, the resulting term structure model provides a better fit to the cross section of yields than the benchmark model, especially at longer maturities, and exhibits better performance in out-of-sample predictions of future yield movements.

Keywords: Macro term structure model, recursive VAR, survey forecasts, anticipated utility

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