Interest Rate Skewness and Biased Beliefs

Research Area:
Researcher: Michael D. Bauer,
Mikhail Chernov
Date: 1.7.2021
Abstract:

Conditional yield skewness is an important summary statistic of the state of the economy. It exhibits pronounced variation over the business cycle and with the stance of monetary policy, and a tight relationship with the slope of the yield curve. Most importantly, variation in yield skewness has substantial forecasting power for future bond excess returns, high-frequency interest rate changes around FOMC announcements, and consensus survey forecast errors for the ten-year Treasury yield. The COVID pandemic did not disrupt these relations: historically high skewness correctly anticipated the run-up in long-term Treasury yields starting in late 2020. The connection between skewness, survey forecast errors, excess returns, and departures of yields from normality is consistent with a theoretical framework where one of the agents has biased beliefs.

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