The Missing Piece of the Puzzle: Liquidity Premiums in Inflation-Indexed Markets

Fleckenstein et al. (2014) document that nominal Treasuries trade at higher prices than inflation-swapped indexed bonds, which exactly replicate the nominal cash flows. We study whether this mispricing arises from liquidity premiums in inflation-indexed bonds (TIPS) and inflation swaps. Using US data, we show that the level of liquidity affects TIPS, whereas swap yields include a liquidity risk premium. We also allow for liquidity effects in nominal bonds. These results are based on a model with a systematic liquidity risk factor and asset-specific liquidity characteristics. We show that these liquidity (risk) premiums explain a substantial part of the TIPS underpricing.