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Working Papers

July 1992, No. 92-2

Deficits and Long-Term Interest Rates: An Empirical Note

Yash P. Mehra

This note examines whether long-term nominal interest rates are cointegrated with budget deficits over the period 1959 to 1990. A key finding of this note is that long-term rates are cointegrated with deficits if a one-year ahead inflation forecast series is used to measure long-term expected inflation. However, the evidence favoring cointegration between deficits and interest rates weakens and almost disappears when inflation forecasts over longer horizons (2 to 4 years) are used. This result indicates that a one-year ahead inflation forecast series does not adequately measure long-term expected inflation. Hence, the link found between deficits and long-term rates using one-year inflation forecast series is spurious.

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