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The Impact of Pensions and Insurance on Global Yield Curves

Robin Greenwood () and Annette Vissing-Jorgensen ()
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Robin Greenwood: Harvard Business School, Finance Unit
Annette Vissing-Jorgensen: University of California Berkeley

No 18-109, Harvard Business School Working Papers from Harvard Business School

Abstract: We document a strong effect of pension and insurance company (P&I) assets on the long end of the yield curve. Using data from 26 countries, the yield spread between 30-year and 10-year government bond yields is negatively related to the ratio of pension assets (in funded and private pension and life insurance arrangements) to GDP, suggesting that preferred-habitat demand by the P&I sector for long-dated assets drives the long end of the yield curve. We draw on changes in regulations in several European countries between 2008 and 2013 to provide well-identified evidence on the effect of the P&I sector on yields and to show that P&I demand is in part driven by hedging linked to the regulatory discount curve. When regulators reduce the dependence of the regulatory discount curve on a particular security, P&I demand for the security falls and its yield increases. These effects extend beyond long government bonds. Our results suggest that pension discount rules can have a destabilizing impact on bond markets that reverses once rules are changed.

New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-age and nep-ias
Date: 2018-06, Revised 2018-12
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