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Liquidity Risk Premia in Corporate Bond Markets

by Frank de Jong of Tilburg University & University of Amsterdam, and
Joost Driessen of the University of Amsterdam

February 19, 2007

Abstract: This paper explores the role of liquidity risk in the pricing of corporate bonds. We show that corporate bond returns have significant exposures to fluctuations in Treasury bond liquidity and equity market liquidity. Further, this liquidity risk is a priced factor for the expected returns on corporate bonds, and the associated liquidity risk premia help to explain the credit spread puzzle. In terms of expected returns, the total estimated liquidity risk premium is around 0.6% per annum for US long-maturity investment grade bonds. For speculative grade bonds, which have higher exposures to the liquidity factors, the liquidity risk premium is around 1.5% per annum. We find very similar evidence for the liquidity risk exposure of corporate bonds for a sample of European corporate bond prices.

Keywords: Credit spread, liquidity risk.

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