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The Expectations Hypothesis for the Longer End of the Term Structure: Some Evidence for Canada

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This paper assesses the expectations theory for the longer end of the term structure of Canadian interest rates using three empirical approaches that have received attention in the literature: (i) cointegration tests of the long-run unbiasedness hypothesis; (ii) simulations of a theoretical long-term yield that is consistent with the expectations hypothesis, and (iii) ex post tests of the rational expectations hypothesis. The empirical results in this paper show that the expectations theory has considerable economic and statistical content for explaining movements in Canadian long-term yields. The cointegration results from a vector error-correction model find a long-run relationship between short- and long-term interest rates; the term spread is an unbiased predictor of changes in short-term rates over the long run. The multi-period forecast of changes in future short-term rates from a Campbell-Shiller vector autoregression model can account for most of the variance of long-term yields; the actual long-term yield moves almost one for one with its theoretical counterpart under the expectations hypothesis. The tests of the rational expectations hypothesis on bond yields from 1 to 5 years’ maturity find that the term structure beyond 2 years resembles a rational forecast of the weighted average of changes in future short rates.

Topic(s): Interest rates
JEL Code(s): E, E4, E43