Interest Rate Expectations Versus Forward Rates: Evidence From An Expectations Survey

Benjamin M. Friedman

NBER Working Paper No. 295 (Also Reprint No. r0034)
Issued in October 1978
NBER Program(s):   ME

The object of this paper is to test several familiar hypotheses about the relationship between the forward rates implied by the term structure and interest rate expectations, using the one ongoing systematic survey that samples market participants' expectations. The substitution of survey data for overidentified constructions removes the principal source of ambiguity that has plagued much of the earlier empirical literature of the term structure. Nevertheless, because of limitations in the available data, it is possible to perform these tests only for the very short end of the maturity spectrum. Section I briefly describes the nature of the interest rate expectations survey and the calculation of the forward rate series from observed term structure data. Sections II-V present the results of testing the hypotheses that the implied term premium is zero on average (II), that it varies systematically with interest rate levels (III), that it varies with outside asset supplies (IV), and that it varies with economic activity (V). Section VI summarizes the findings of these tests and discusses their implications

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w0295

Published: Friedman, Benjamin M. "Interest Rate Expectations Versus Forward Rates: Evidence from an Expectations Survey." The Journal of Finance, Vol. XXXIV, No . 4, (September 1979), pp. 965-973.

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