Understanding Inflation-Indexed Bond Markets

48 Pages Posted: 27 May 2009

See all articles by John Y. Campbell

John Y. Campbell

Harvard University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Robert J. Shiller

Yale University - Cowles Foundation; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Yale University - International Center for Finance

Luis M. Viceira

Harvard Business School - Finance Unit; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: May 18, 2009

Abstract

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.

Keywords: Expectations hypothesis, Liquidity, Term premia, TIPS

JEL Classification: E43, E44, G12

Suggested Citation

Campbell, John Y. and Shiller, Robert J. and Viceira, Luis M., Understanding Inflation-Indexed Bond Markets (May 18, 2009). Cowles Foundation Discussion Paper No. 1696, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1406500 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1406500

John Y. Campbell

Harvard University - Department of Economics ( email )

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Robert J. Shiller (Contact Author)

Yale University - Cowles Foundation ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://www.econ.yale.edu/~shiller/

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Yale University - International Center for Finance ( email )

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203-432-3708 (Phone)
203-432-6167 (Fax)

Luis M. Viceira

Harvard Business School - Finance Unit ( email )

Boston, MA 02163
United States
617-495-6331 (Phone)
617-496-6592 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.people.hbs.edu/lviceira

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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