Research interests

• Credit Risk
• Fixed Income
• Insurance
• Real estate

Working papers


The Effect of Insurance on Municipal Bond Yields


I study the difference between insured and uninsured municipal bond yields. I find that although some of that difference is attributable to the effect of insurance, another channel comes from self selection to insure – municipalities that choose to insure differ significantly from municipalities who choose not to insure. Without accounting for the latter self selection the insurance benefit appears undervalued. By focusing on municipalities with both outstanding insured and uninsured bonds (mixed municipalities), I identify that in the pre-crisis period insurance for such municipalities reduces municipal bond yields by 8 basis points. But analysis of homogeneous municipalities reveals the self selection effect raises yields by 6 basis points. However, during the recent financial crisis, insurance continued to lower yields by 8 bps, whereas the self selection effect increased yields by 16 basis points. Thus, my work explains the recent initially puzzling phenomenon when insured yields rose above uninsured yields.

Sean Wilkoff

PhD Candidate in Finance, Expected 2012

Haas School of Business


Contact information

Email: swilkoff [at] haas [dot] berkeley [dot] edu

Phone: (805) 807-9811


Haas School of Business

2220 Piedmont Avenue

University of California at Berkeley

Berkeley, CA 94720-1900


Curriculum Vitae: pdf