September 2012

The Informational Content of the Embedded Deflation Option in TIPS

Olesya V. Grishchenko, Joel M. Vanden, and Jianing Zhang


In this paper we estimate the value of the embedded option in U.S. Treasury Inflation Protected Securities (TIPS). The option value exhibits significant time variation that is correlated with periods of deflationary expectations. We use our estimated option values to construct an embedded option price index and an embedded option return index. We then use our embedded option indices as independent variables and examine their statistical and economic significance for explaining the future inflation rate. In almost all of our regressions, the embedded option return index is significant even in the presence of traditional inflation variables, such as lagged inflation, the return on gold, the return on crude oil, the VIX index return, and the yield spread between nominal Treasuries and TIPS.We conduct several robustness tests, including alternative weighting schemes, alternative variable specifications, and alternative control variables. We conclude that the embedded option in TIPS contains useful information for future inflation, both in-sample and out-of-sample. Our results should be valuable to anyone who is interested in assessing inflationary expectations.

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Keywords: TIPS, embedded option, inflation, deflation, term structure

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Last Update: June 26, 2020