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Default probability estimation in small samples: With an application to sovereign bonds

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  • Orth, Walter
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    Abstract

    In small samples and especially in the case of small true default probabilities, standard approaches to credit default probability estimation have certain drawbacks. Most importantly, standard estimators tend to underestimate the true default probability which is of course an undesirable property from the perspective of prudent risk management. As an alternative, we present an empirical Bayes approach to default probability estimation and apply the estimator to a comprehensive sample of Standard & Poor's rated sovereign bonds. We further investigate the properties of a standard estimator and the empirical Bayes estimator by means of a simulation study. We show that the empirical Bayes estimator is more conservative and more precise under realistic data generating processes. --

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by University of Cologne, Department for Economic and Social Statistics in its series Discussion Papers in Statistics and Econometrics with number 5/11.

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    Date of creation: 2011
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    Handle: RePEc:zbw:ucdpse:511

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    1. Fuertes, Ana-Maria & Kalotychou, Elena, 2007. "On sovereign credit migration: A study of alternative estimators and rating dynamics," Computational Statistics & Data Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 51(7), pages 3448-3469, April.
    2. 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.
    3. Kiefer, Nicholas M., 2009. "Default estimation for low-default portfolios," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 164-173, January.
    4. Altman, Edward I, 1989. " Measuring Corporate Bond Mortality and Performance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 44(4), pages 909-22, September.
    5. Kiefer, Nicholas M., 2010. "Default Estimation and Expert Information," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 28(2), pages 320-328.
    6. 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.
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