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Can a Violation of Investor Trust Lead to Financial Contagion in the Market for Tax-Exempt Hospital Bonds?

Patrick M. Bernet and Thomas E. Getzen
International Journal of Health Care Finance and Economics
Vol. 8, No. 1 (Mar., 2008), pp. 27-51
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40270580
Page Count: 25
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Can a Violation of Investor Trust Lead to Financial Contagion in the Market for Tax-Exempt Hospital Bonds?
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Abstract

Not-for-profit hospitals rely heavily on tax-exempt debt. Investor confidence in such instruments was shaken by the 1998 bankruptcy of the Allegheny Health and Education Research Foundation (AHERF), which was the largest U. S. not-for-profit failure up to that date and whose default was accompanied by claims of accounting irregularities. Such shocks can result in contagion whereby all hospitals are viewed as riskier. We test for the significance and duration of resulting contagion using an industry-specific model of interest cost determinants. Empirical tests indicate that contagion does occur, resulting in higher interest on new debt issues from other hospitals.

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