FOLLOWING HICKS  AND LUTZ , economists have developed a substantial literature relating the forward interest rates implied by currently prevailing rates on debts of differing maturity to market participants' expectations of interest rates in the future. Hicks suggested that implied forward rates might differ from the corresponding expected future rates by a liquidity premium, or term premium, and more recently Stiglitz  and others have formalized how market participants' risk aversion would give rise to such a premium. While in principle the premium could be either positive or negative, the usual upward slope of the yield curve suggests a positive premium that itself varies positively with the debt's term to maturity. Kessel  subsequently suggested that the premium for a given maturity might vary with real economic activity, and Culbertson  argued that relative outside debt supply quantities should also affect the premium. More recently Nelson  offered an explanation for the premium even in the absence of risk aversion, and Friedman  related changes in the premium to shifts in wealth ownership among heterogenous investors. An accompanying empirical literature has repeatedly tested each of these various hypotheses about forward rates and expected future rates, but usually
The Journal of Finance – Wiley
Published: Sep 1, 1979
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