Staff Reports
Decomposing Real and Nominal Yield Curves
Previous title: “Pricing TIPS and Treasuries with Linear Regressions”
September 2012 Number 570
Revised: February 2015
JEL classification: E43, E44, G12

Authors: Michael Abrahams, Tobias Adrian, Richard K. Crump, and Emanuel Moench

We present an affine term structure model for the joint pricing of real and nominal bond yields that explicitly accommodates liquidity risk premia. We estimate the model using a new, computationally efficient procedure that is based on return regressions. The model allows us to address a number of salient questions about the transmission of monetary policy. We show that variations in U.S. nominal term premia are primarily driven by variations in real term premia rather than inflation and liquidity risk premia. Nonetheless, adjusting breakevens for inflation and liquidity risk substantially improves forecasts of inflation. Our estimates imply that the Federal Reserve's large-scale asset purchases lowered Treasury yields primarily by reducing real term premia. Real term premia also account for the positive response of long-term real forward rates to surprise changes in the federal funds target. Applying our model to U.K. data, we find that the inflation risk premium dropped sharply when the Bank of England formally adopted an inflation target.
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