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Keywords:

  • E43;
  • E52;
  • G12
  • yield curve;
  • term premium;
  • inflation target

This paper examines a shift in the dynamics of the term structure of interest rates in the United States during the mid-1980s. We document this shift using standard interest rate regressions and using dynamic, affine, no-arbitrage models estimated for the pre- and post-shift subsamples. The term structure shift largely appears to be the result of changes in the pricing of risk associated with a “level” factor. Using a macro-finance model, we suggest a link between this shift in term structure behavior and changes in the dynamics and risk pricing of the Federal Reserve's inflation target as perceived by investors.