Analyzing the Term Structure of Interest Rates using the Dynamic Nelson-Siegel Model with Time-Varying Parameters

S.J. Koopman, M.I.P. Mallee, M. van der Wel

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In this paper we introduce time-varying parameters in the dynamic Nelson-Siegel yield curve model for the simultaneous analysis and forecasting of interest rates of different maturities, known as the term structure. The Nelson-Siegel model has been recently reformulated as a dynamic factor model where the latent factors are interpreted as the level, slope and curvature of the term structure. The factors are modelled by a vector autoregressive process. We propose to extend this framework in two directions. First, the factor loadings are made time-varying through a simple single step function and we show that the model fit increases significantly as a result. The step function can be replaced by a spline function to allow for more smoothness and flexibility. Second, we investigate empirically whether the volatility in interest rates across different time periods is constant. For this purpose, we introduce a common volatility component that is specified as a spline function of time and scaled appropriately for each series. Based on a data-set that is analysed by others, we present empirical evidence where time-varying loadings and volatilities in the dynamic Nelson-Siegel framework lead to significant increases in model fit. Improvements in the forecasting of the term structure are also reported. Finally, we provide an illustration where the model is applied to an unbalanced dataset. It shows that missing data entries can be estimated accurately.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
PublisherTinbergen Instituut
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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