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Default Risk in Corporate Yield Spreads

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  • Georges Dionne
  • Geneviève Gauthier
  • Khemais Hammami
  • Mathieu Maurice
  • Jean-Guy Simonato

Abstract

An important research question examined in the recent credit risk literature focuses on the proportion of corporate yield spreads which can be attributed to default risk. Past studies have verified that only a small fraction of the spreads can be explained by default risk. In this paper, we reexamine this topic in the light of the different issues associated with the computation of transition and default probabilities obained with historical rating transition data. One significant finding of our research is that the estimated default-risk proportion of corporate yield spreads in highly sensitive to the term structure of the default probabilities estimated for each rating class. Moreover, this proportion can become a large fraction of the yield spread when sensitivity analyses are made with respect to recovery rates, default cycles in the economy, and information considered in the historical rating transition data.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CIRPEE in its series Cahiers de recherche with number 0532.

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Date of creation: 2005
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Handle: RePEc:lvl:lacicr:0532

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Keywords: Credit risk; default risk; corporate yield spread; transition matrix; default probability; Moody's; Standard and Poor's; recovery rate; data filtration; default cycle;

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References

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  1. Darrell Duffie & Robert Jarrow & Amiyatosh Purnanandam & Wei Yang, 2003. "Market Pricing of Deposit Insurance," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer, vol. 24(2), pages 93-119, October.
  2. Gordy, Michael B., 2000. "A comparative anatomy of credit risk models," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 24(1-2), pages 119-149, January.
  3. Christensen, Jens H.E. & Hansen, Ernst & Lando, David, 2004. "Confidence sets for continuous-time rating transition probabilities," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 28(11), pages 2575-2602, November.
  4. Long Chen & Pierre Collin-Dufresne & Robert S. Goldstein, 2009. "On the Relation Between the Credit Spread Puzzle and the Equity Premium Puzzle," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 22(9), pages 3367-3409, September.
  5. Lando, David & Skodeberg, Torben M., 2002. "Analyzing rating transitions and rating drift with continuous observations," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 26(2-3), pages 423-444, March.
  6. Crouhy, Michel & Galai, Dan & Mark, Robert, 2000. "A comparative analysis of current credit risk models," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 24(1-2), pages 59-117, January.
  7. Anil Bangia & Francis X. Diebold & Til Schuermann, 2000. "Ratings Migration and the Business Cycle, With Application to Credit Portfolio Stress Testing," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 00-26, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
  8. Altman, Edward I., 1998. "The importance and subtlety of credit rating migration," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 22(10-11), pages 1231-1247, October.
  9. Edward Altman & Andrea Resti & Andrea Sironi, 2004. "Default Recovery Rates in Credit Risk Modelling: A Review of the Literature and Empirical Evidence," Economic Notes, Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA, vol. 33(2), pages 183-208, 07.
  10. Mark J Manning, 2004. "Exploring the relationship between credit spreads and default probabilities," Bank of England working papers 225, Bank of England.
  11. Duffie, Darrell & Singleton, Kenneth J, 1999. "Modeling Term Structures of Defaultable Bonds," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 12(4), pages 687-720.
  12. Nelson, Charles R & Siegel, Andrew F, 1987. "Parsimonious Modeling of Yield Curves," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 60(4), pages 473-89, October.
  13. Edwin J. Elton, 2001. "Explaining the Rate Spread on Corporate Bonds," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(1), pages 247-277, 02.
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Cited by:
  1. Dionne, Georges & Gauthier, Geneviève & Hammami, Khemais & Maurice, Mathieu & Simonato, Jean-Guy, 2011. "A reduced form model of default spreads with Markov-switching macroeconomic factors," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(8), pages 1984-2000, August.
  2. Georges Dionne & Sadok Laajimi & Sofiane Mejri & Madalina Petrescu, 2006. "Estimation of the Default Risk of Publicly Traded Canadian Companies," Working Papers 06-28, Bank of Canada.

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