The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
This paper assesses the relative importance of alternative explanations for the rise in long-term interest rates in the United States from October 1993 to April 1994. Standard econometric models of the term structure are shown to have a structural break in the early 1980s. An important reason for this change in the traditional term structure relationship appears to be an increase in the responsiveness of long-term rates to changes in the stance of monetary policy. Augmented term structure models that explicitly incorporate the role of monetary policy in determining the level of long-term rates are then constructed. These models track variations in the long-term rate better than traditional term structure models, but still leave a significant fraction of the recent increase in long-term rates unexplained.