One-factor no-arbitrage term structure models where the instantaneous interest rate follows either the process proposed by Vasicek (1977) or by Cox, Ingersoll and Ross (1985), commonly known as CIR, are parsimonious and analytically tractable. Models based on the original CIR process have the important characteristic of allowing for a time-varying conditional interest rate volatility, but are undefined in negative interest rate environments. A Shifted-CIR no-arbitrage term structure model, where the instantaneous interest rate is given by the sum of a constant lower bound and a non-negative CIR-like process, allows for negative yields and benefits from a similar tractability of the original CIR model. Based on U.S. and German yield curve data, the Vasicek and Shifted-CIR specifications, both considering constant and time-varying risk premia, are compared in terms of information criteria and forecasting ability. The Shifted-CIR specification is preferred by information criteria to models based on the Vasicek process. It also provides similar or better in-sample and out-of-sample forecasting ability of future yield curve movements. Introducing a time variation of the interest rate risk premium in no-arbitrage one-factor term structure models is instead not recommended, as it provides worse information criteria and forecasting performance.
- interest rates
- term structure