Friday, August 7, 2009

Understanding Inflation-Indexed Bond Markets

John Y. Campbell, Robert J. Shiller, and Luis M. Viceira discuss the history and characteristics on inflation-indexed bonds in this excellent paper. Copies can be freely downloaded from the Social Science Research Network.

"Understanding Inflation-Indexed Bond Markets"  Cowles Foundation Discussion Paper No. 1696


This paper explores the history of inflation-indexed bond markets in the US and the UK. It documents a massive decline in long-term real interest rates from the 1990's until 2008, followed by a sudden spike in these rates during the financial crisis of 2008. Breakeven inflation rates, calculated from inflation-indexed and nominal government bond yields, stabilized until the fall of 2008, when they showed dramatic declines. The paper asks to what extent short-term real interest rates, bond risks, and liquidity explain the trends before 2008 and the unusual developments in the fall of 2008. Low inflation-indexed yields and high short-term volatility of inflation-indexed bond returns do not invalidate the basic case for these bonds, that they provide a safe asset for long-term investors. Governments should expect inflation-indexed bonds to be a relatively cheap form of debt financing going forward, even though they have offered high returns over the past decade.

No comments:

Post a Comment