Paper # Author Title
The popular Nelson-Siegel (1987) yield curve is routinely fit to cross sections of intra-country bond yields, and Diebold and Li (2006) have recently proposed a dynamized version. In this paper we extend Diebold-Li to a global context, modeling a potentially large set of country yield curves in a framework that allows for both global and country-specific factors. In an empirical analysis of term structures of government bond yields for the Germany, Japan, the U.K. and the U.S., we find that global yield factors do indeed exist and are economically important, generally explaining significant fractions of country yield curve dynamics, with interesting differences across countries. Download Paper
We assess and apply the term-structure model introduced by Nelson and Siegel (1987) and re-interpreted by Diebold and Li (2003) as a modern three-factor model of level, slope and curvature. First, we ask whether the model is a member of the affine class, and we find that it is not. Hence the poor forecasting performance recently documented for affine term structure models in no way implies that our model will forecast poorly, which is consistent with Diebold and Li's (2003) finding that it indeed forecasts quite well. Next, having clarified the relationship between our three-factor model and the affine class, we proceed to assess its adequacy directly, by testing whether its level, slope and curvature factors do indeed capture systematic risk. We find that they do, and that they are therefore priced. Finally, confident in the ability of our three-factor model to capture the pricing relations present in the data, we proceed to explore its efficacy in bond portfolio risk management. Traditional Macaulay duration is appropriate only in a one-factor (level) context; hence we move to a three-factor generalized duration, and we show the superior performance of hedges constructed using it. Download Paper
Despite powerful advances in yield curve modeling in the last twenty years, comparatively little attention has been paid to the key practical problem of forecasting the yield curve. In this paper we do so. We use neither the no-arbitrage approach, which focuses on accurately fitting the cross section of interest rates at any given time but neglects time-series dynamics, nor the equilibrium approach, which focuses on time-series dynamics (primarily those of the instantaneous rate) but pays comparatively little attention to fitting the entire cross section at any given time and has been shown to forecast poorly. Instead, we use variations on the Nelson-Siegel exponential components framework to model the entire yield curve, period-by-period, as a three-dimensional parameter evolving dynamically. We show that the three time-varying parameters may be interpreted as factors corresponding to level, slope and curvature, and that they may be estimated with high efficiency. We propose and estimate autoregressive models for the factors, and we show that our models are consistent with a variety of stylized facts regarding the yield curve. We use our models to produce term-structure forecasts at both short and long horizons, with encouraging results. In particular, our forecasts appear much more accurate at long horizons than various standard benchmark forecasts. Finally, we discuss a number of extensions, including generalized duration measures, applications to active bond portfolio management, and arbitrage-free specifications. Download Paper