Staff Working Paper No. 849
By Fernando Eguren-Martin, Andrew Meldrum and Wen Yan
We use a no-arbitrage term structure model of equity yields computed from the prices of dividend swaps to estimate the yields on hypothetical bonds with cash-flows indexed to the level of US GDP. This provides a novel approach for estimating the possible relative cost of conventional and GDP-linked bonds, which is likely to be of interest to sovereigns considering the case for issuing GDP-linked debt. Our model predicts that US GDP-linked bonds would typically have yields lower than those on conventional Treasury bonds with the same maturity in our sample from 2010 to 2017. Positive expected future GDP growth lowers the yield on GDP-linked bonds relative to conventional bonds, which typically more than offsets the estimated GDP risk premium demanded by investors for holding GDP risk. These risk premia decrease with maturity, with unconditional averages falling in absolute value from 7 percentage points at the short-end of the curve to 1 percentage points at the 10-year horizon.