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Are credit default swaps associated with higher corporate defaults?

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  • Stavros Peristiani
  • Vanessa Savino

Abstract

Are companies with traded credit default swap (CDS) positions on their debt more likely to default? Using a proportional hazard model of bankruptcy and Merton’s contingent claims approach, we estimate the probability of default for U.S. nonfinancial firms. Our analysis does not generally find a persistent link between CDS and default over the entire period 2001-08, but does reveal a higher probability of default for firms with CDS over the last few years of that period. Further, we find that firms trading in the CDS market exhibited a higher Moody’s KMV expected default frequency during 2004-08. These findings are consistent with those of Henry Hu and Bernard Black, who argue that agency conflicts between hedged creditors and debtors would increase the likelihood of corporate default. In addition, our paper highlights other explanations for the higher defaults of CDS firms. Consistent with fire-sale spiral theories, we find a positive link between institutional ownership exposure and corporate distress, with CDS firms facing stronger selling pressures during the recent financial turmoil.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of New York in its series Staff Reports with number 494.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:494

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Related research

Keywords: Credit derivatives ; Swaps (Finance) ; Bankruptcy ; Default (Finance) ; Corporations - Finance;

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References

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  1. Szilagyi, Jan & Hilscher, Jens & Campbell, John, 2008. "In Search of Distress Risk," Scholarly Articles 3199070, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. Cristina Cella & Andrew Ellul & Mariassunta Giannetti, 2013. "Investors' Horizons and the Amplification of Market Shocks," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 26(7), pages 1607-1648.
  3. Paul A. Gompers & Andrew Metrick, 2001. "Institutional Investors And Equity Prices," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(1), pages 229-259, February.
  4. Joshua D. Coval & Erik Stafford, 2005. "Asset Fire Sales (and Purchases) in Equity Markets," NBER Working Papers 11357, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Hamid Mehran & Stavros Peristiani, 2010. "Financial Visibility and the Decision to Go Private," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 23(2), pages 519-547, February.
  6. Markus K. Brunnermeier & Lasse Heje Pedersen, 2007. "Market Liquidity and Funding Liquidity," NBER Working Papers 12939, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Park, Sangkyun & Peristiani, Stavros, 2007. "Are bank shareholders enemies of regulators or a potential source of market discipline?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 31(8), pages 2493-2515, August.
  8. Harald HAU & Sandy LAI, . "The Role of Equity Funds in the Financial Crisis Propagation," Swiss Finance Institute Research Paper Series 11-35, Swiss Finance Institute.
  9. Lucy F. Ackert & George Athanassakos, 2003. "A Simultaneous Equations Analysis of Analysts' Forecast Bias, Analyst Following, and Institutional Ownership," Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30, pages 1017-1042.
  10. Gilson, Stuart C. & John, Kose & Lang, Larry H. P., 1990. "Troubled debt restructurings*1: An empirical study of private reorganization of firms in default," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 315-353, October.
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Cited by:
  1. Bolton, Patrick & Oehmke, Martin, 2013. "Strategic conduct in credit derivative markets," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 652-658.

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