Limits of Disclosure Regulation in the Municipal Bond Market
65 Pages Posted: 3 Feb 2022 Last revised: 28 Jul 2022
Date Written: July 28, 2022
We examine the effectiveness of recent federal disclosure regulation aiming to improve transparency in the $4 trillion municipal bond market. Governments fail to disclose material private debt agreements up to 80% of the time and, conditional on disclosure, filings often omit contract details essential for bond pricing. Non-compliant issuers are significantly riskier than compliers, with disclosure decreasing in the potential of private debt to adversely affect bondholders. We show that disclosure reveals positive news and is especially informative to investors in low-rated bonds or during market crises. Overall, private debt continues to pose significant risks to municipal bond investors.
Keywords: municipal bond pricing, disclosure regulation, private debt
JEL Classification: H74, G14, G18
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation