Publications and Research

Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date

Summer 7-28-2020


This paper examines whether corporate bondholders price climate change risk. I find that firms exposed to higher sea level rise (SLR) across U.S. branch locations pay a premium when issuing bonds. Specifically, a one standard deviation increase in a firm’s SLR exposure is associated with a 2% increase of average yield spreads equivalent to 4 basis points. This effect is more pronounced for firms in industries vulnerable to extreme weather conditions, which are less spatially diversified, and issuing bonds with maturities ranging from 5 to 10 years. In addition, I find no evidence that credit rating agencies account for SLR exposure at issuance, corroborating anecdotal evidence of a recent interest for climate risks. Given the increasing awareness regarding the economic cost of climate change, these results collectively have important financial implications for firms considering where to locate branches in areas exposed to sea level rise as well as implications for policymakers concerned by the possibility of a climate credit crunch.



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