Review of Derivatives Research

, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 205–225 | Cite as

A model of discontinuous interest rate behavior, yield curves, and volatility

  • Steven L. Heston


This paper develops an equilibrium model in which interest rates follow a discontinuous (generalized) gamma process. The gamma process has finite variation, takes an infinite number of “small” jumps in every interval, and includes the Wiener process as a limiting case. The gamma interest rate model produces yield curves that closely resemble those of diffusion models. But in contrast to diffusion models, the curvature of the yield curve does not directly depend on the true volatility of the interest rate process, but instead depends on a different risk-neutral volatility. The gamma model appears to fit the distribution of interest rates changes and the jump characteristics of interest rate paths. Empirical tests reject a diffusion model of interest rates in favor of the more general gamma model because daily interest rate innovations are highly leptokurtic.


Interest rates Yield curve Levy process 


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.4447 Van Munching HallUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA

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