Information in the term structure of yield curve volatility

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Cieslak, A. ; Povala, Pavol
  • Publisher: Birkbeck College, University of London
  • Subject: ems

We study information in the volatility of US Treasuries. We propose a no-arbitrage term structure model with a stochastic covariance of risks in the economy, and estimate it using high-frequency data and options. We identify volatilities of the expected short rate and of the term premium. Volatility of short rate expectations rises ahead of recessions and during stress in financial markets, while term premium volatility increases in the aftermath. Volatile short rate expectations predict economic activity independently of the term spread at horizons up to one year, and are related to measures of monetary policy uncertainty. The term premium volatility comoves with a more general level of economic policy uncertainty. We also study channels through which volatility affects model-based inference about the yield curve.
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