Author's School

Graduate School of Arts & Sciences

Author's Department/Program



English (en)

Date of Award

January 2010

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Chair and Committee

Siddhartha Chib


In my dissertation, I focus on theoretical asset pricing models and the development of Bayesian econometric methods to estimate them, particularly in the area of bond pricing. The first essay theoretically and empirically examines structural changes in a dynamic term-structure model of zero-coupon bond yields. To do this, we develop a new arbitrage-free one latent and two macro-economics factor affine model to price default-free bonds when all model parameters are subject to change at unknown time points. The bonds in our set-up can be priced straightforwardly once the change-point model is formulated as a specific unidirectional Markov process. We consider five versions of our general model - with 0, 1, 2, 3 and 4 change-points - to a collection of 16 yields measured quarterly over the period 1972:I to 2007:IV. Our empirical approach to inference is fully Bayesian with priors set up to reflect the assumption of a positive term-premium. The use of Bayesian techniques is particularly relevant because the models are high-dimensional and non-linear, and because it is more straightforward to compare our different change-point models from the Bayesian perspective. Our estimation results indicate that the model with 3 change-points is most supported by the data and that the breaks occurred in 1980:II, 1985:IV and 1995:II. These dates correspond: in turn) to the time of a change in monetary policy, the onset of what is termed the great moderation, and the start of technology driven period of economic growth. We also utilize the Bayesian framework to derive the out-of-sample predictive densities of the term-structure. We find that the forecasting performance of the 3 change-point model is substantially better than that of the other models we examine. In the second essay, we develop and estimate a model of the term structure of interest rates within the context of a Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium model. The model features multiple monetary policy and volatility regimes. We estimate this model by Bayesian methods. Our estimation results reveal that U.S. monetary policy has become ``more active'' since 1995:Q2, that during this period, the average term premium has fallen, and that the price of regime shift risk is always significantly positive over time. These findings highlight the important role that general equilibrium modeling can play in understanding the complex dynamics of the term structure.


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