Explanations of an empirical puzzle: What can be learnt from a test of the rational expectations hypothesis?

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This paper illustrates the interplay between theory development and data analysis by considering the ability of the rational expectations hypothesis to explain the empirical cointegration structure found in the term structure. It finds that although a standard no-arbitrage theory that incorporates rational expectations can explain some of the properties of Treasury Bill yields, this theoretical explanation is incomplete. A broader-based explanation that accounts for government debt and time-varying risk premia can improve predictions of yield movements, relative to those predictions based solely on a bill yield spread.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-59
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Economic Methodology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Cointegration
  • Empirical relevance
  • Explanation
  • Rational expectations hypothesis
  • Statistical adequacy
  • Term structure
  • Theory/data confrontations
  • Valid inference

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