The role of no-arbitrage on forecasting: lessons from a parametric term structure model
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Parametric term structure models have been successfully applied to innumerous problems in fixed income markets, including pricing, hedging, managing risk, as well as studying monetary policy implications. On their turn, dynamic term structure models, equipped with stronger economic structure, have been mainly adopted to price derivatives and explain empirical stylized facts. In this paper, we combine flavors of those two classes of models to test if no-arbitrage affects forecasting. We construct cross section (allowing arbitrages) and arbitrage-free versions of a parametric polynomial model to analyze how well they predict out-of-sample interest rates. Based on U.S. Treasury yield data, we find that no-arbitrage restrictions significantly improve forecasts. Arbitrage-free versions achieve overall smaller biases and Root Mean Square Errors for most maturities and forecasting horizons. Furthermore, a decomposition of forecasts into forward-rates and holding return premia indicates that the superior performance of no-arbitrage versions is due to a better identification of bond risk premium.