Municipal Bond Sectoral Risk and Information Intermediation in Uncertain Times: Evidence from the COVID-19 Pandemic

34 Pages Posted: 14 Oct 2020 Last revised: 18 Feb 2021

See all articles by Lang Kate Yang

Lang Kate Yang

George Washington University - Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration

Ruth Winecoff

Indiana University - School of Public and Environmental Affairs

Date Written: February 15, 2021

Abstract

The municipal bond market is not homogeneous but consists of varying credits supporting different governmental activities. In this paper we discuss how sectors form and how they are differentially subject to market risks, using the COVID-19 pandemic as a case study. The pandemic has disrupted all financial markets, and particularly some municipal bond sectors supported by non-general obligation credits, such as health care, arts, and transportation. By comparing the sectors that face a greater increase in risk with others, we empirically examine the market uncertainty hypothesis that intermediation provides stronger certification value when sectoral risk increases. We find an increased use of insurance among high risk-elevation bonds. Bond insurance, nevertheless, is not associated with larger reductions in offering yield in the high risk-elevation sectors on average, but only for issuers consistently insuring all issuances. The yield difference between unrated and rated bonds expands more in the high risk-elevation sectors; for an average unrated bond in such sectors, receiving any investment-grade rating is associated with yield reductions.

Keywords: Municipal Bond, Bond Sector, Market Uncertainty, Information Intermediary, COVID-19

JEL Classification: G14, G22, H54, H74

Suggested Citation

Yang, Lang Kate and Winecoff, Ruth, Municipal Bond Sectoral Risk and Information Intermediation in Uncertain Times: Evidence from the COVID-19 Pandemic (February 15, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3710957 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3710957

Lang Kate Yang (Contact Author)

George Washington University - Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration ( email )

805 21st Street, NW
Suite 601
Washington, DC 20052
United States

Ruth Winecoff

Indiana University - School of Public and Environmental Affairs ( email )

1315 East 10th Street
Bloomington, IN 47405
United States

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