Download this Paper Open PDF in Browser

Measuring Abnormal Bond Performance

53 Pages Posted: 19 Jan 2005 Last revised: 17 Jul 2008

Hendrik Bessembinder

Arizona State University

Kathleen M. Kahle

University of Arizona - Department of Finance

William F. Maxwell

SMU - Cox School

Danielle Xu

Gonzaga University

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper


We analyze the empirical power and specification of test statistics designed to detect abnormal bond returns in corporate event studies, using monthly and daily data. We find that test statistics based on frequently used methods of calculating abnormal monthly bond returns are biased. Most methods implemented in monthly data also lack power to detect abnormal returns. We also consider unique issues arising when using the newly available TRACE data, and formulate and test methods to calculate daily abnormal bond returns. Using daily bond data significantly increases the power of the tests, relative to the monthly data. Weighting individual trades by size while eliminating non-institutional trades from the TRACE data also increases the power of the tests to detect abnormal performance, relative to using all trades or the last price of the day. Further, value-weighted portfolio matching approaches are better specified and more powerful than equal-weighted approaches. Finally, we examine abnormal bond returns to acquirers around mergers and acquisitions to demonstrate how the abnormal return model and use of daily versus monthly data can affect inferences.

Keywords: event study, bond returns, TRACE

JEL Classification: G12, G14

Suggested Citation

Bessembinder, Hendrik and Kahle, Kathleen M. and Maxwell, William F. and Xu, Danielle, Measuring Abnormal Bond Performance. Review of Financial Studies, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: or

Hendrik (Hank) Bessembinder

Arizona State University ( email )

PO Box 873906
Tempe, AZ 85207
United States

Kathleen M. Kahle

University of Arizona - Department of Finance ( email )

McClelland Hall
P.O. Box 210108
Tucson, AZ 85721-0108
United States
520-621-7489 (Phone)

William F. Maxwell (Contact Author)

SMU - Cox School ( email )

Maguire Bldg, RM 440C
Dallas, TX, TX 75214
United States

Danielle Xu

Gonzaga University ( email )

Spokane, WA 99258
United States

Paper statistics

Abstract Views