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An Empirical Analysis of the Pricing of Collateralized Debt Obligations

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  • Francis A. Longstaff
  • Arvind Rajan

Abstract

We study the pricing of collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) using an extensive new data set for the actively-traded CDX credit index and its tranches. We find that a three-factor portfolio credit model allowing for firm-specific, industry, and economywide default events explains virtually all of the time-series and crosssectional variation in CDX index tranche prices. These tranches are priced as if losses of 0.4, 6, and 35 percent of the portfolio occur with expected frequencies of 1.2, 41.5, and 763 years, respectively. On average, 65 percent of the CDX spread is due to firm-specific default risk, 27 percent to clustered industry or sector default risk, and 8 percent to catastrophic or systemic default risk. Recently, however, firm-specific default risk has begun to play a larger role.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12210.

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Date of creation: May 2006
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Publication status: published as Longstaff, Francis A. and Arvind Rajan. "An Empirical Analysis of the Pricing of Collateralized Debt Obligations." Journal of Finance 63, 2 (April 2008): 529-63.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12210

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  1. Francis A. Longstaff & Sanjay Mithal & Eric Neis, 2005. "Corporate Yield Spreads: Default Risk or Liquidity? New Evidence from the Credit Default Swap Market," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(5), pages 2213-2253, October.
  2. Darrell Duffie & Jun Pan & Kenneth Singleton, 1999. "Transform Analysis and Asset Pricing for Affine Jump-Diffusions," NBER Working Papers 7105, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Duffie, Darrell & Saita, Leandro & Wang, Ke, 2007. "Multi-period corporate default prediction with stochastic covariates," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(3), pages 635-665, March.
  4. Cox, John C & Ingersoll, Jonathan E, Jr & Ross, Stephen A, 1985. "A Theory of the Term Structure of Interest Rates," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(2), pages 385-407, March.
  5. Duffie, Darrell & Singleton, Kenneth J, 1997. " An Econometric Model of the Term Structure of Interest-Rate Swap Yields," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(4), pages 1287-1321, September.
  6. Sanjiv Das & Darrell Duffie & Nikunj Kapadia & Leandro Saita, 2006. "Common Failings: How Corporate Defaults are Correlated," NBER Working Papers 11961, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. 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.
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