NBER Working Paper No. 3550
This paper provides a brief survey of the relationship between the yield curve and future changes in interest rates and inflation. The expectations hypothesis of the term structure indicates .that when the yield curve is upward sloping, future short-term and long-term interest rates are expected to rise. Empirical evidence finds that as predicted by the expectations hypothesis, yield spreads are positively correlated with future changes in short-term interest rates, particularly at long horizons. However, yield spreads are negatively correlated with next period's change in long-term interest rates, the opposite prediction of the expectations hypothesis. Empirical evidence also suggests that the yield curve has almost no ability to forecast future inflation changes for short horizons: however, at horizons of a year or greater, the yield curve contains a great deal of information about the future path of inflation.
Published: Eatwell, John, Murray Milgate and Peter Newman (eds.) The New Palgrave Dictionary of Money and Finance. London: Macmillan Press, 1992.