IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Did Steve Forbes Scare the Municipal Bond Market?


  • Joel Slemrod
  • Timothy Greimel


Evidence from daily market data is consistent with the view that the implicit tax rate on 5-year municipal bonds was affected by the chance of a flat tax becoming law, as proxied by the price of Steve Forbes' shares on the Iowa Electronic Market for political candidates; the spread was also affected by the likelihood of a Republican president and the impact of deficit reduction. No similar evidence for the impact of the flat tax could be found for the 30-year municipal market, although that spread does seem to be affected by the probability of a Republican winning the White House, and the lower taxes on capital income that presumably implies. These findings are consistent with market participants taking the flat tax seriously as a short-run possibility, but believing that over a three-decade period the taxation of capital is more likely to be influenced by the party in power than the tax reform fad of the moment. Alternatively it may reflect the fact that, due to several features of 30-year bonds, the changing likelihood of a flat tax is not clearly reflected in that market.

Suggested Citation

  • Joel Slemrod & Timothy Greimel, 1998. "Did Steve Forbes Scare the Municipal Bond Market?," NBER Working Papers 6583, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6583
    Note: AP PE

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Fortune, Peter, 1988. "Municipal Bond Yields: Whose Tax Rates Matter?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 41(2), pages 219-33, June.
    2. Fortune, Peter, 1988. "Municipal Bond Yields: Whose Tax Rates Matter?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 41(2), pages 219-233, June.
    3. N. Gregory Mankiw & James M. Poterba, 1996. "Stock Market Yields and the Pricing of Municipal Bonds," NBER Working Papers 5607, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Skelton, Jeffrey L., 1983. "Banks, firms and the relative pricing of tax-exempt and taxable bonds," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 343-355, November.
    5. Peter Fortune, 1996. "Do municipal bond yields forecast tax policy?," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue Sep, pages 29-48.
    6. Miller, Merton H, 1977. "Debt and Taxes," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 32(2), pages 261-275, May.
    7. Buser, Stephen A. & Hess, Patrick J., 1986. "Empirical determinants of the relative yields on taxable and tax-exempt securities," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 335-355, December.
    8. James M. Poterba, 1986. "Explaining the Yield Spread between Taxable and Tax-exempt Bonds: The Role of Expected Tax Policy," NBER Chapters,in: Studies in State and Local Public Finance, pages 5-52 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Merle Erickson & Austan Goolsbee & Edward Maydew, 2002. "How Prevalent is Tax Arbitrage? Evidence from the Market for Municipal Bonds," NBER Working Papers 9105, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Justin Wolfers & Eric Zitzewitz, 2004. "Prediction Markets," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(2), pages 107-126, Spring.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies


    Access and download statistics


    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:nbr:nberwo:6583. 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: (). 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.