Data Suggestion: Local Government Bonds

By Patrick L. Warren

A while back I suggested state government contracts might be an interesting data source for many of our members. Today, I want to briefly introduce you to another exciting data set: government financial securitiies through the Electronic Muncipal Market Access (EMMA) database, maintained and provided by the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board. In a searchable database you can find the initial prices and provisions for various sorts of local government debt. It also includes trades with prices and quantities over time for many of these bonds and, best of all, the initial disclosures, which include tons of information about the issuing organization, its financial position, leadership, and organizational form. These documents are also updated as required, as new information comes to light. Unfortunately, much of this is stuck in PDF, but you don't want this to be too easy, do you? I can imagine a million interesting projects to be done, here. I'm excited to see what people can do. Check it out!