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Discussion Paper

The Private Premium in Public Bonds?


Abstract: In a 2012 New York Fed study, Chenyang Wei and I find that interest rate spreads on publicly traded bonds issued by companies with privately traded equity are about 31 basis points higher on average than spreads on bonds issued by companies with publicly traded equity, even after controlling for risk and other factors. These differences are economically and statistically significant and they persist in the secondary market. We control for many factors associated with bond pricing, including risk, liquidity, and covenants. Although these controls account for some of the absolute pricing difference, the price wedge between public and private companies remains. Despite these pricing differences, private companies with public bonds are no more likely to go bankrupt or to be downgraded than are similar public companies. In this post, we briefly summarize the findings of our study.

Keywords: asset pricing; private equity; bonds;

JEL Classification: G3;

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Bibliographic Information

Provider: Federal Reserve Bank of New York

Part of Series: Liberty Street Economics

Publication Date: 2012-05-16

Number: 20120516