Michael Schwert

Michael Schwert
  • Assistant Professor of Finance

Contact Information

  • office Address:

    3620 Locust Walk - SHDH 2451

Research Interests: debt capital markets, credit risk, financial intermediation, corporate finance

Links: CV, Personal Website

Research

  • Michael Schwert (Under Revision), Does Borrowing from Banks Cost More than Borrowing from the Market?.

    Abstract: This paper investigates the pricing of bank loans relative to capital market debt. The analysis relies on a novel sample of syndicated loans matched with bond spreads from the same firm on the same date. After accounting for seniority, banks earn an economically large premium relative to the market price of credit risk. To quantify the premium, I apply a structural model that accounts for priority structure, prices the firm's bonds, and matches expected losses given default and secondary market bid-ask spreads. In a sample of secured term loans to non-investment-grade firms, the average loan premium is 143 bps, equal to 43% of the all-in-drawn spread. These findings are the first direct evidence of firms' willingness to pay for the unique qualities of bank loans and raise questions about the nature of competition in the loan market.

  • Michael Schwert (2018), Bank Capital and Lending Relationships, Journal of Finance, 73, pp. 787-830. https://doi.org/10.1111/jofi.12604

    Abstract: This paper investigates the mechanisms behind the matching of banks and firms in the loan market and the implications of this matching for lending relationships, bank capital, and the provision of credit. I find that bank-dependent firms borrow from well capitalized banks, while firms with access to the bond market borrow from banks with less capital. This matching of bank-dependent firms with stable banks smooths cyclicality in aggregate credit provision and mitigates the effects of bank shocks on the real economy.

  • Michael Schwert (2017), Municipal Bond Liquidity and Default Risk, Journal of Finance, 72, pp. 1683-1722. 10.1111/jofi.12511

    Abstract: This paper examines the pricing of bonds issued by states and local governments. I use three distinct, complementary approaches to decompose municipal bond spreads into default and liquidity components, finding that default risk accounts for 74% to 84% of the average municipal bond spread after adjusting for tax-exempt status. The first approach estimates the liquidity component using transaction data, the second measures the default component with credit default swap data, and the third is a quasi-natural experiment that estimates changes in default risk around pre-refunding events. The price of default risk is high given the rare incidence of municipal default and implies a high risk premium.

Teaching

Past Courses

  • FNCE238 - Capital Markets

    The objective of this course is to give you a broad understanding of the framework and evolution of U.S. capital markets, the instruments that are traded, the mechanisms that facilitate their trading and issuance, and the motivations of issuers and investors across different asset classes. The course will highlight the problems that capital market participants are seeking to solve, which you can use in your post-Wharton careers to evaluate future market innovations. We will consider design, issuance, and pricing of financial instruments, the arbitrage strategies which keep their prices in-line with one another,and the associated economic and financial stability issues. We will draw from events in the aftermath of the recent financial crisis, which illustrate financing innovations and associated risks, as well as policy responses that can change the nature of these markets.

  • FNCE738 - Capital Markets

    The objective of this course is to give you a broad understanding of the instruments traded in modern financial markets, the mechanisms that facilitate their trading and issuance, as well as, the motivations of issuers and investors across different asset classes. The course will balance functional and institutional perspectives by highlighting the problems capital markets participants are seeking to solve, as well as, the existing assets and markets which have arisen to accomplish these goals. We will consider design, issuance, and pricing of financial instruments, the arbitrage strategies which keep their prices in-line with one another,and the associated economic and financial stability issues. The course is taught in lecture format, and illustrates key concepts by drawing on a collection of case studies and visits from industry experts.

Awards and Honors