Correcting Estimation Bias in Dynamic Term Structure Models


Glenn D. Rudebusch

Jing (Cynthia) Wu

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2011-12 | April 1, 2012

The affine dynamic term structure model (DTSM) is the canonical empirical finance representation of the yield curve. However, the possibility that DTSM estimates may be distorted by small-sample bias has been largely ignored. We show that conventional estimates of DTSM coefficients are indeed severely biased, and this bias results in misleading estimates of expected future short-term interest rates and of long-maturity term premia. We provide a variety of bias-corrected estimates of affine DTSMs, both for maximally-flexible and over-identified specifications. Our estimates imply short rate expectations and term premia that are more plausible from a macro-finance perspective.

Article Citation

Rudebusch, Glenn D., Jing (Cynthia) Wu, and Michael Bauer. 2011. “Correcting Estimation Bias in Dynamic Term Structure Models,” Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco Working Paper 2011-12. Available at

About the Author
Michael Bauer
Michael Bauer is a senior research advisor in the Economic Research Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and research fellow at CEPR. Learn more about Michael Bauer