The determinants of credit default swap spreads in the presence of structural breaks and counterparty risk
By investigating the determinants of CDS spreads on European contracts before and after the recent crisis we observe significant differences in the explanatory power of market and firm-specific variables. Before the crisis, the underlying credit risk in the overall CDS market is sufficient to explain credit risk. During the crisis investors have a differing view on the risk of financial and non-financial contracts; whereas non-financial CDS contracts reflect the credit risk of the counterparty, financial contracts do not. Our results suggest that in case of default of financial firms, investors expect the government to intervene to alleviate credit risk of the counterparty and fears of systemic risk.
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