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Business and default cycles for credit risk

  • André Lucas
  • Siem Jan Koopman

Various economic theories are available to explain the existence of credit and default cycles. There remains empirical ambiguity, however, as to whether these cycles coincide. Recent papers suggest by their empirical research set-up that they do, or at least that defaults and credit spreads tend to co-move with macroeconomic variables. If true, this is important for credit risk management as well as for regulation and systemic risk management. In this paper, we use 1933-1997 US data on real GDP, credit spreads and business failure rates to shed new light on the empirical evidence. We use a multivariate unobserved components framework to disentangle credit and business cycles. We distinguish two types of cycles in the data, corresponding to periods of around 6 and 11-16 years, respectively. Cyclical co-movements between GDP and business failures mainly arise at the longer frequency. At the higher frequency of 6 years, co-cyclicality is less clear-cut. We also show that spreads reveal a positive and negative co-cyclicality with failure rates and GDP, respectively. This pattern disappears, however, if we concentrate on the post World War II period. We comment on the implications of our findings for credit risk management. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1002/jae.833
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Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Journal of Applied Econometrics.

Volume (Year): 20 (2005)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 311-323

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Handle: RePEc:jae:japmet:v:20:y:2005:i:2:p:311-323
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  1. Chen, Nai-Fu, 1991. " Financial Investment Opportunities and the Macroeconomy," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 46(2), pages 529-54, June.
  2. Pesaran, M.H. & Schuermann, T. & Treutler, B-J. & Weiner, S.M., 2003. "Macroeconomic Dynamics and Credit Risk: A Global Perspective," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0330, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  3. Pamela Nickell & William Perraudin & Simone Varotto, 2001. "Stability of ratings transitions," Bank of England working papers 133, Bank of England.
  4. Kwark, Noh-Sun, 2002. "Default risks, interest rate spreads, and business cycles: Explaining the interest rate spread as a leading indicator," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 271-302, February.
  5. 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.
  6. Durbin, James & Koopman, Siem Jan, 2001. "Time Series Analysis by State Space Methods," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198523543, March.
  7. Linda Allen & Anthony Saunders, 2003. "A survey of cyclical effects in credit risk measurement model," BIS Working Papers 126, Bank for International Settlements.
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