The German Sub-national Government Bond Market: Structure, Determinants of Yield Spreads and Berlin's Forgone Bail-out
The paper presents a new and comprehensive data set of all bonds issued by the sixteen German federal states (Länder) since 1992. It thus provides a complete picture of a capital market comparable in size to the combined corporate bond and commercial paper market in Germany. The quantitative analysis reveals that Länder follow different issuing strategies: while some concentrate to a greater extent on large issues or issue joint bonds with other Länder (Jumbos), others rely more on comparatively small but frequent issues. Moreover, some Länder issue a significant volume-share of their bonds in foreign currencies. Suitable bonds are used to compute time series of yields for the respective Länder at a daily frequency as well as a liquidity measure. Based on the unique data set, we document that spreads of Länder yields to the Bund are driven to a great extent by general risk aversion. Public debt only has an economically marginal impact. Moreover, the recent refusal of the Federal Constitutional Court to grant additional federal funds to the city-state of Berlin did not change the risk assessment of German Länder by financial markets. Recent market turbulences have manifestly contributed to widening spreads as well as increased responsiveness of Länder spreads to international measures of risk aversion.
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Volume (Year): 229 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
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