We examine transparency-related characteristics of European and US sovereign bond markets and relate these to differences in primary issuance approaches and the design of the different trading platforms. We highlight the existence of a winner’s curse problem in the interaction between B2C and B2B segments of the market, and we provide evidence to analyze its prevalence. We examine the problems that can arise as the result of increasing the transparency of the B2B segment of the market and use the experience of the eSpeed platform in the US to obtain insights into these effects. Our analysis is directly relevant to the policy debate about whether to apply MiFID transparency requirements to the EU sovereign bond markets: our results suggest great caution in creating an extremely homogenous and transparent trading environment for sovereign bonds.
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