This paper examines the preferred-habitat theory under time-varying risk aversion. The predicted positive relation between the term spread and relative supply of longer-term debt is stronger when risk aversion is high. To capture this effect, a time-varying coefficient model is introduced and applied to German bond data. The results support the theoretical predictions and indicate substantial time variation: under high risk aversion, yield spreads react about three times more strongly than when risk aversion is low. The accumulated response of term spreads to a one standard deviation change in debt supply ranges between 5 and 33 basis points.
preferred-habitat time-varying risk aversion yield spreads bond supply