Robust Bond Risk Premia

62 Pages Posted: 29 Sep 2015 Last revised: 26 Jan 2017

See all articles by Michael Bauer

Michael Bauer

Universit├Ąt Hamburg

James D. Hamilton

University of California at San Diego; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: January 25, 2017


A consensus has recently emerged that variables beyond the level, slope, and curvature of the yield curve can help predict bond returns. This paper shows that the statistical tests underlying this evidence are subject to serious small-sample distortions. We propose more robust tests, including a novel bootstrap procedure specifically designed to test the spanning hypothesis. We revisit the analysis in six published studies and find that the evidence against the spanning hypothesis is much weaker than it originally appeared. Our results pose a serious challenge to the prevailing consensus.

Keywords: yield curve, spanning, return predictability, robust inference, bootstrap

JEL Classification: E43, E44, E47

Suggested Citation

Bauer, Michael and Hamilton, James D., Robust Bond Risk Premia (January 25, 2017). Available at SSRN: or

Michael Bauer (Contact Author)

Universit├Ąt Hamburg ( email )

Von-Melle-Park 5
Hamburg, 20146


James D. Hamilton

University of California at San Diego ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
Mail code: 0508
La Jolla, CA 92093-0508
United States
619-534-5986 (Phone)
619-534-7040 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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