Regime-switching univariate diffusion models of the short-term interest rate

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This article proposes a general regime-switching univariate diffusion model to describe the dynamics of the short-term interest rate. The maximum likelihood estimates are obtained using the weekly series of U.S. three-month treasury bill rates. The estimation results reveal that there are strong evidences for the existence of high and low volatility regimes, for the time varying transition probability of the regime variable, and for the high persistence of both regimes. In both regimes, the volatility, but not the drift, is estimated accurately and plays a key role in explaining the dynamics of the interest rates. High persistence's and different volatilities of two regimes can well explain volatility clustering observed in the data. Based on the inferred probability of the process being in each regime, most of the high volatility periods correspond to some historic events. The likelihood-based test shows that misspecification can result in misleading outcomes particularly regarding the volatility and transition probabilities of the regime index. Copyright

Original languageEnglish
Article number4
JournalStudies in Nonlinear Dynamics and Econometrics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 6 Mar 2009


  • Markov chain
  • Maximum likelihood estimation
  • Short rate
  • Term structure
  • Volatility clustering


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