Reaching for Yield in the Bond Market
AbstractReaching-for-yield—investors’ propensity to buy riskier assets in order to achieve higher yields—is believed to be an important factor contributing to the credit cycle. This paper presents a detailed study of this phenomenon in the corporate bond market. We show that insurance companies, the largest institutional holders of corporate bonds, reach for yield in choosing their investments. Consistent with lower rated bonds bearing higher capital requirement, insurance firms’ prefer to hold higher rated bonds. However, conditional on credit ratings, insurance portfolios are systematically biased toward higher yield, higher CDS bonds. Reaching-for-yield exists both in the primary and the secondary market, and is robust to a series of bond and issuer controls, including bond liquidity and duration, and issuer fixed effects. This behavior is related to the business cycle, being most pronounced during economic expansions. It is also more pronounced for firms with poor corporate governance and for which regulatory capital requirement is more binding. A comparison of the ex-post performance of bonds acquired by insurance companies shows no outperformance, but higher systematic risk and volatility.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18909.
Date of creation: Mar 2013
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
- G22 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Insurance; Insurance Companies
- G30 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - General
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
You can help add them by filling out this form.
CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
- Paul R. Masson, 2013. "The Dangers of an Extended Period of Low Interest Rates: Why the Bank of Canada Should Start Raising Them Now," C.D. Howe Institute Commentary, C.D. Howe Institute, issue 381, May.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.