The Pure Expectations Theory and Quarterly Interest Rate Premiums

Samih Antoine Azar


The expectations theory posits that the long interest rate is an average of expected short term interest rates with the possibility of the existence of a risk premium. This paper looks upon fourteen samples of investments for which the difference in maturity is three months. All yields are actual yields and are adjusted to have the same maturities as the short rate. The evidence is strong for the pure expectations theory which predicts that the risk premiums are zero. This should not be surprising because the premium that we are looking for is merely 4 basis points per quarter. The contribution of this paper, besides giving support to the pure expectations theory, is to lay out the fundamental and basic methodology that one should follow in order to study other investments similar to ours. Both unconditional and conditional tests are performed. Because of sampling error and small-sample bias the unconditional tests may be preferable. 

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