NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

A Preferred-Habitat Model of the Term Structure of Interest Rates

Dimitri Vayanos, Jean-Luc Vila

NBER Working Paper No. 15487
Issued in November 2009
NBER Program(s):AP, EFG, ME

We model the term structure of interest rates as resulting from the interaction between investor clienteles with preferences for specific maturities and risk-averse arbitrageurs. Because arbitrageurs are risk averse, shocks to clienteles' demand for bonds affect the term structure---and constitute an additional determinant of bond prices to current and expected future short rates. At the same time, because arbitrageurs render the term structure arbitrage-free, demand effects satisfy no-arbitrage restrictions and can be quite different from the underlying shocks. We show that the preferred-habitat view of the term structure generates a rich set of implications for bond risk premia, the effects of demand shocks and of shocks to short-rate expectations, the economic role of carry trades, and the transmission of monetary policy.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w15487

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