Green bonds are increasingly being applied to finance emissions reductions, sustainable development, and other cleaner production investments conducive to reaching the 2 °C temperature target of the Paris Agreement. As their markets are relatively nascent, there is a gap in the empirical literature on the drivers of green bond market growth. To assess the impact that capital market growth drivers and Nationally Determined Contributions to the Paris Agreement have on green bond issuance volumes as indicators of market growth, this study employed a structural equation model using a panel dataset of over $300 billion in green bonds issued in 49 countries between 2007 and 2017. This is the first econometric study to demonstrate unique drivers of green bond market growth in addition to factors that similarly affect conventional bond market growth. This is also the first study to construct a normalized index of Nationally Determined Contributions robustness scores to measure their impacts on green bond market growth. Macroeconomic latent factors exerted three times the total influence exerted by institutional latent factors. Institutional effects are positive and indirect, while OECD membership impacts were small and statistically insignificant. Nationally Determined Contributions scores exerted the largest positive and statistically significant impacts among observed variables. These results suggest that Nationally Determined Contributions and other macroeconomic and institutional factors are driving growing green bond issuances that will finance climate and sustainability investments through the future. They also highlight the need for broader examinations of the determinants of green bond issuances as investment vehicles for sustainable outcomes.
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