Fiscal Imbalances and Borrowing Costs: Evidence from State Investment Losses
Simon Business School, University of Rochester; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
Joshua D. Rauh
Stanford Graduate School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
March 21, 2011
During the last quarter of 2008, state pension funds fell in value by approximately $350 billion. Depending on the state, the losses were equivalent to as little as 12% of the own revenue (taxes, fees, and charges) generated by the state government in the previous fiscal year, or as much as 68%. We quantify a sovereign default channel in the state municipal market by examining how changes in bond spreads vary with state pension fund losses, controlling for credit ratings and various measures of the state’s fiscal strength. Municipal bond spreads rose by 7-15 basis points for each 10% of state-generated revenue lost by states in the lower half of the credit quality spectrum.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 55
Keywords: fiscal imbalances, deficits, public debt, interest rates, borrowing costs, public employee pensions, public pension funds
JEL Classification: E62, G23, H55, H63, 72, H74
Date posted: November 18, 2009 ; Last revised: March 30, 2011
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