Interest rates are a factor of the current rate, expected inflation and future interest rates. There are three main theories attempting to explain how interest rates vary with time.
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2 Liquidity Preference Theory
3 Market Segmentation Theory
Market Expectations (Pure Expectations) Theory
Interest rates are quoted according to the associated time periods. A CD (Certificate of Deposit) for 2 years will pay a different rate than a CD for 1 year. The Market Expectations theory states that a CD for 2 years will pay the same interest rate as a CD for 1 year followed by another CD for 1 year.
Liquidity Preference Theory
This theory states that borrowers pay an incentive to lenders inorder to obtain funds for longer duration. This explains why interest rates for longer term periods are higher than shorter time periods.