What do Fed Funds Futures tell us about Monetary Policy Uncertainty

The paper is here. I find that the uncertainty around future changes to the Federal Reserve target rate varies over time. In our results, the main driver of uncertainty is a “path” factor signaling information about future policy actions, which is filtered from federal funds futures data. The uncertainty is lowest when the path factor signals a loosening cycle and highest when it signals a loosening cycle. The uncertainty raises the risk premium in a loosening cycle, reducing the transmission of target changes to longer maturities. Our results trace the information content of federal funds futures to hedging demand.

 

Funding Risk, Market Liquidity, Market Volatility and the Cross-Section of Asset Returns

We find strong evidence of a funding risk premium in the cross-section of asset returns. Using funding shocks identified in our previous paper, we obtain estimates for the price of funding risk that are robust across Treasury bonds, corporate bonds, equities, and hedge funds. Funding shocks pose a risk to investors because they exacerbate the illiquidity and volatility of securities, increase the dispersions of asset illiquidity and volatility, and decrease contemporaneous returns. Our price-of-risk estimates are also robust to using mimicking portfolio returns, alternative portfolio sorts, traditional test assets, monthly returns or quarterly returns. Funding shocks are not subsumed by common proxies for market-wide illiquidity or dealers’ balance sheet risk.

The paper can be found here. The funding liquidity factor used in this paper can be found here: FundingLiquiditFactor_19862015Q4.

Bond Risk Premia and Gaussian Term Structure Models

Management Science, 2016.

You can find the paper here.

We extend results in Dai and Singleton (2002). Cochrane and Piazzesi (2005) show that (i) lagged forward rates improve the predictability of annual bond returns, adding to current forward rates, and that (ii) a Markovian model for monthly forward rates cannot generate the pattern of predictability in annual returns. These results stand as a challenge to modern Markovian dynamic term structure models (DTSMs). We develop the family of Conditional Mean DTSMs where the yield dynamics depend on current yields and their history. We match these bond risk premium stylized facts. A small Markovian factor “hidden” in measurement error (Duffee, 2011) helps but it is not sufficient to match the evidence.

Estimating the Policy Rule from Money Market Rates when Target Rate Changes Are Lumpy

in Developments in Macro-Finance Yield Curve Modelling, 2014.

Most central banks effect changes to their target or policy rate in discrete increments (e.g., multiples of 0.25%) following public announcements on scheduled dates. Still, it is common to rely on the assumption that the policy rate changes continuously with economic conditions. Most applications also do not distinguish between dates with and without scheduled announcements. This assumption is not innocuous when estimating the policy rule based on daily frequency. I find that accounting for discrete changes leads to economically different estimates of an otherwise standard term structure model.

Working paper version available here.

Competition and Strategic Control of a Central Counterparty: When Lower Risk Increases Profit

Updated June 2013.

A recent paper with Hector Perez and Joshua Slive, also from the  Bank of Canada. We study how CCP membership rules and risk controls affect the competitive structure of an OTC market. These constraints reduce systemic risk (i.e., CCP default risk) but they also increase the market power of its members.  We find that risk controls can serve as an anticompetitive instrument, allowing members to coordinate around a more profitable outcome at the expense of non-members.  You can find the paper here : Competition and Strategic Control of a Central Counterparty

 

Non-Markov Gaussian Term Structure Models: The Case of Inflation

Review of Finance, 2014.

With Bruno Feunou.  Previous versions circulated as Forecasting Inflation and the Inflation Risk Premium.

Standard Gaussian macro-finance term structure models impose  that the conditional mean is a function of the risk factors. We relax this assumption: yields are linear in the conditional mean (but not in the risk factors). To illustrate, if inflation is one of the factors, then yields should span expected inflation but not inflation. Second, expected and surprise yield changes can have opposite contemporaneous effects on expected inflation.  Third, the inflation survey forecasts and the inflation rate can be used consistently within the state equation. These three features are inconsistent with the Markov assumption. Our results hold for the US and for Canada. The paper is here.

Discrete Choice Term Structure Models : Theory and Applications

With Bruno Feunou. Central banks around the world restrict changes in their policy rate to a small set of possibilities. Typically, these are a few multiples of 0.25% away from the current policy rate.  In economics, this is an example of the well-known class of ordered choice problems. This paper bridges the gap between discrete-choice problems and asset pricing. We generalize the standard probit-logit case and provide the implications from the absence of arbitrage to develop a wide class of term structure models.  Empirically, we find significant non-linearitites in the Fed’s policy function and in US interest rates. The paper is here, Discrete Choice Term Structure Models, and the abstract follows.

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The Equity Premium, Variance Premium and the Maturity Structure of Uncertainty

Review of Finance 18 (1), 2014

With Bruno Feunou, Abderrahim Taamouti and Roméo Tédongap. The paper is here: The Equity Premium and the Maturity Structure of Uncertainty. The trade-offs between risk and returns vary with the investment horizons. The term structure of moments, measurable from option prices, can reveal the risk-returns trade-off associated with Long-Run Risk or Stochastic Volatility factors. Intuitively, we can study the dynamics of hard-to-measure risk factors via their impacts on the term structure of variance and other moments. As predicted by theory, we extract a small number of risk factors with substantial predictive power for the Equity Premium and the Variance Premium. These summarize the compensation for risks implicit in the Equity Premium and the Variance Premium at different horizons.