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Pushing Bonds Over the Edge: Monetary Policy and Municipal Bond Liquidity
We examine the role of institutional investors in monetary policy transmission to asset markets by exploiting a discontinuous threshold in the tax treatment of municipal bonds. As bonds approach the threshold, mutual funds, the primary institutional traders in the market, dispose of the bonds at significant risk of falling below the threshold. This is driven by mutual funds anticipating future illiquidity. Once bonds cross the threshold, their liquidity declines and illiquidity-induced yield spreads increase substantially as retail investors become more important in price formation. ...
A Ramsey Theory of Financial Distortions
The return on government debt is lower than that of asset with similar payoffs. We study optimal debt management and taxation when the government cannot directly redistribute towards the agents in need of liquidity but otherwise has access to a complete set of linear tax instruments. Optimal government debt provision calls for gradually closing the wedge between the returns as much as possible, but tax policy may work as a countervailing force: as long as financial frictions bind, it can be optimal to tax capital even if this magnifies the discrepancy in returns.