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The Microstructure of the Bond Market in the 20th Century

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  • Biais, Bruno
  • Green, Richard

Abstract

Bonds are traded in OTC markets, where opacity and fragmentation imply large transaction costs for retail investors. Is there something special about bonds, in contrast to stocks, that precludes trading in transparent, limit-order markets? Historical experience suggests this is not the case. Before WWII, there was an active market in corporate and municipal bonds on the NYSE. Activity dropped dramatically, in the late 1920s for municipals and in the mid 1940s for corporate, as trading migrated to the OTC market. This migration occurred simultaneously with an increase in the role of institutional investors, which fare better than retail investors in OTC market. Based on current and historical high frequency data, we find that, for retail investors, trading costs in municipal bonds were half as large in 1926-1927 as they are now. The difference in transactions costs is likely to reflect the difference in market structures.

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Paper provided by Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse in its series IDEI Working Papers with number 482.

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Date of creation: 29 Aug 2007
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Handle: RePEc:ide:wpaper:7373

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References

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  1. Green, Richard C. & Hollifield, Burton & Schurhoff, Norman, 2007. "Dealer intermediation and price behavior in the aftermarket for new bond issues," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(3), pages 643-682, December.
  2. Richard C. Green & Burton Hollifield & Norman Schurhoff, . "Financial Intermediation and the Costs of Trading in an Opaque Market," GSIA Working Papers 2004-11, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
  3. Raghuram G. Rajan & Luigi Zingales, 1994. "What Do We Know About Capital Structure? Some Evidence from International Data," NBER Working Papers 4875, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Pagano, Marco, 1989. "Trading Volume and Asset Liquidity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 104(2), pages 255-74, May.
  5. Lawrence E. Harris & Michael S. Piwowar, 2006. "Secondary Trading Costs in the Municipal Bond Market," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 61(3), pages 1361-1397, 06.
  6. Bessembinder, Hendrik & Maxwell, William & Venkataraman, Kumar, 2006. "Market transparency, liquidity externalities, and institutional trading costs in corporate bonds," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 251-288, November.
  7. Biais, Bruno & Glosten, Larry & Spatt, Chester, 2004. "Market Microstructure: A Survey of Microfoundations, Empirical Results, and Policy Implications," IDEI Working Papers 253, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  8. Anat R. Admati, Paul Pfleiderer, 1988. "A Theory of Intraday Patterns: Volume and Price Variability," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 1(1), pages 3-40.
  9. Robert M. Dammon & Chester S. Spatt & Harold H. Zhang, 2004. "Optimal Asset Location and Allocation with Taxable and Tax-Deferred Investing," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(3), pages 999-1037, 06.
  10. Dan Bernhardt & Vladimir Dvoracek & Eric Hughson & Ingrid M. Werner, 2005. "Why Do Larger Orders Receive Discounts on the London Stock Exchange?," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 18(4), pages 1343-1368.
  11. Rajan, Raghuram G. & Zingales, Luigi, 2003. "The great reversals: the politics of financial development in the twentieth century," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 5-50, July.
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Cited by:
  1. Ricardo Lagos & Guillaume Rocheteau, 2009. "Liquidity in Asset Markets With Search Frictions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(2), pages 403-426, 03.
  2. Max Bruche & Anatoli Segura, 2013. "Debt Maturity And The Liquidity Of Secondary Debt Markets," Working Papers wp2013_1303, CEMFI.
  3. Hendrik Bessembinder & William Maxwell, 2008. "Markets: Transparency and the Corporate Bond Market," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(2), pages 217-234, Spring.
  4. Andrew Ang & Vineer Bhansali & Yuhang Xing, 2010. "Taxes on Tax-Exempt Bonds," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 65(2), pages 565-601, 04.
  5. Cantillon, Estelle & Yin, Pai-Ling, 2011. "Competition between exchanges: A research agenda," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 329-336, May.
  6. Allen, Linda & Gottesman, Aron A. & Peng, Lin, 2012. "The impact of joint participation on liquidity in equity and syndicated bank loan markets," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 50-78.
  7. Schultz, Paul, 2012. "The market for new issues of municipal bonds: The roles of transparency and limited access to retail investors," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 106(3), pages 492-512.
  8. Ronen, Tavy & Zhou, Xing, 2013. "Trade and information in the corporate bond market," Journal of Financial Markets, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 61-103.

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