Beliefs about inflation and the term structure of interest rates

OMI Seminar Series

We study how differences in beliefs about expected inflation affect the nominal term structure when investors have “catching up with the Joneses” preferences. In the model, “catching up with the Joneses” preferences help to match the level and slope of yields as well as the level of yield volatilities. Disagreement about expected inflation helps to match the dynamics of yields and yield volatilities. Expected inflation disagreement induces a spillover effect to the real side of the economy with a strong impact on the real yield curve. When investors share common preferences over consumption relative to the habit with a coefficient of relative risk aversion greater than one, real average yields across all maturities rise as disagreement increases. Real yield volatilities also rise with disagreement. To develop intuition concerning the role of different beliefs between investors, we consider a case where the real and nominal term structures can be computed as weighted-averages of quadratic Gaussian term structure models. We numerically find increased disagreement about expected inflation between the investors increases nominal yields and nominal yield volatilities at all maturities. We find empirical support for these predictions.


Mike Gallmeyer (University of Virginia)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012 - 12:30
to 13:30