IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

The contagion effect of default risk insurer downgrades: The impact on insured municipal bonds


  • Brune, Chris
  • Liu, Pu


Municipal bonds are often insured by insurance companies that promise to pay investors in the event of default on the part of the issuer. However, just as the financial strength of the insurer can provide assurance to investors, questions about insurer stability may heighten investor concerns. This paper considers three major downgrades to large municipal bond insurers and the effects of each downgrade on a large sample of municipal bonds. Results reveal the effects to be widespread: not only are risk premiums on bonds insured by the downgraded insurer affected, but so are those on bonds insured by other insurance companies.

Suggested Citation

  • Brune, Chris & Liu, Pu, 2011. "The contagion effect of default risk insurer downgrades: The impact on insured municipal bonds," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 63(5), pages 492-502, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jebusi:v:63:y:2011:i:5:p:492-502

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Crabbe, Leland & Post, Mitchell A, 1994. " The Effect of a Rating Downgrade on Outstanding Commercial Paper," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 49(1), pages 39-56, March.
    2. Hand, John R M & Holthausen, Robert W & Leftwich, Richard W, 1992. " The Effect of Bond Rating Agency Announcements on Bond and Stock Prices," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(2), pages 733-752, June.
    3. Holthausen, Robert W. & Leftwich, Richard W., 1986. "The effect of bond rating changes on common stock prices," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 57-89, September.
    4. Goh, Jeremy C & Ederington, Louis H, 1993. " Is a Bond Rating Downgrade Bad News, Good News, or No News for Stockholders?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 48(5), pages 2001-2008, December.
    5. Timothy Q. Cook, 1982. "Determinants of individual tax-exempt bond yields : a survey of the evidence," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue May, pages 14-39.
    6. Robert C. Merton & André Perold, 1993. "Theory Of Risk Capital In Financial Firms," Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Morgan Stanley, vol. 6(3), pages 16-32.
    7. Chris Downing & Frank Zhang, 2004. "Trading Activity and Price Volatility in the Municipal Bond Market," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(2), pages 899-931, April.
    8. Ingram, Robert W & Brooks, Leroy D & Copeland, Ronald M, 1983. " The Information Content of Municipal Bond Rating Changes: A Note," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 38(3), pages 997-1003, June.
    9. Epermanis, Karen & Harrington, Scott E., 2006. "Market Discipline in Property/Casualty Insurance: Evidence from Premium Growth Surrounding Changes in Financial Strength Ratings," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 38(6), pages 1515-1544, September.
    10. Liu, Pu & Thakor, Anjan V, 1984. "Interest Yields, Credit Ratings, and Economic Characteristics of State Bonds: An Empirical Analysis: A Note," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 16(3), pages 344-351, August.
    11. Barrett, W Brian & Heuson, Andrea J & Kolb, Robert W, 1986. " The Effect of Three Mile Island on Utility Bond Risk Premia: A Note," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 41(1), pages 255-261, March.
    12. Kidwell, David S. & Sorensen, Eric H. & Wachowicz, John M., 1987. "Estimating the Signaling Benefits of Debt Insurance: The Case of Municipal Bonds," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 22(03), pages 299-313, September.
    13. Vikram Nanda & Rajdeep Singh, 2004. "Bond Insurance: What Is Special About Munis?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(5), pages 2253-2280, October.
    14. Donald P. Morgan, 2002. "Rating Banks: Risk and Uncertainty in an Opaque Industry," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 874-888, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jebusi:v:63:y:2011:i:5:p:492-502. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.