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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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Suggested Citation

  • Biais, Bruno & Green, Richard, 2007. "The Microstructure of the Bond Market in the 20th Century," IDEI Working Papers 482, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  • Handle: RePEc:ide:wpaper:7373
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Marlene Amstad & Steven Kong & Frank Packer & Eli Remolona, 2016. "A spare tire for capital markets: Fostering corporate bond markets in Asia," BIS Papers, Bank for International Settlements, number 85.
    3. Kathleen Kahle & René M. Stulz, 2016. "Is the U.S. public corporation in trouble?," NBER Working Papers 22857, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Bruche, Max & Segura, Anatoli, 2017. "Debt maturity and the liquidity of secondary debt markets," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 124(3), pages 599-613.
    5. Ronen, Tavy & Zhou, Xing, 2013. "Trade and information in the corporate bond market," Journal of Financial Markets, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 61-103.
    6. 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.
    7. Bank for International Settlements, 2014. "Market-making and proprietary trading: industry trends, drivers and policy implications," CGFS Papers, Bank for International Settlements, number 52.
    8. Hajime Tomura, 2016. "Investment Horizon and Repo in the Over‐the‐Counter Market," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 48(1), pages 145-164, February.
    9. repec:eee:empfin:v:46:y:2018:i:c:p:34-55 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Henk Berkman & Carole Comerton‐Forde, 2011. "Market microstructure: A review from down under," Accounting and Finance, Accounting and Finance Association of Australia and New Zealand, vol. 51(1), pages 50-78, March.
    11. repec:aea:aecrev:v:107:y:2017:i:11:p:3320-62 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Hajime Tomura, 2014. "Investment Horizon and Repo in the Over-the-Counter Market," UTokyo Price Project Working Paper Series 026, University of Tokyo, Graduate School of Economics.
    13. Yumi Saita & Chihiro Shimizu & Tsutomu Watanabe, 2013. "Aging and Real Estate Prices:Evidence from Japanese and US Regional Data," UTokyo Price Project Working Paper Series 014, University of Tokyo, Graduate School of Economics, revised Dec 2013.
    14. 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.
    15. 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.
    16. Ødegaard, Bernt Arne, 2016. "Bond Liquidity at the Oslo Stock Exchange," UiS Working Papers in Economics and Finance 2016/16, University of Stavanger.

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