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Optimal Investment With Default Risk


  • Yuanfeng Hou

    (Yale University)

  • Xiangrong Jin

    (FAME and University of Lausanne)


In this paper, we investigate how investors who face both equity risk and credit risk would optimally allocate their financial wealth in a dynamic continuous-time setup. We model credit risk through the defaultable zero-coupon bond and solve the dynamics of its price after pricing it. Using stochastic control methods, we obtain a closed-form solution to this investment problem and characterize its variation with respect to different factors in the economy. We find that non-zero recovery rate of the credit-risky bond affects investors' decision in a fundamental way. Because of this, investors try to time the market conditions in their decision making process. It also induces hedging term in this setup of otherwise deterministic investment opportunity set. Through numerical examples, we show that the inclusion of credit market is shown to be able to enhance investors' welfare.

Suggested Citation

  • Yuanfeng Hou & Xiangrong Jin, 2002. "Optimal Investment With Default Risk," FAME Research Paper Series rp46b, International Center for Financial Asset Management and Engineering.
  • Handle: RePEc:fam:rpseri:rp46b

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Campbell, John Y & Ammer, John, 1993. " What Moves the Stock and Bond Markets? A Variance Decomposition for Long-Term Asset Returns," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 48(1), pages 3-37, March.
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    3. Duffee, Gregory R, 1999. "Estimating the Price of Default Risk," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 12(1), pages 197-226.
    4. LuisM. Viceira & John Y. Campbell, 2001. "Who Should Buy Long-Term Bonds?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 99-127, March.
    5. Kwan, Simon H., 1996. "Firm-specific information and the correlation between individual stocks and bonds," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 63-80, January.
    6. Robert A. Jarrow & Stuart M. Turnbull, 2008. "Pricing Derivatives on Financial Securities Subject to Credit Risk," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: Financial Derivatives Pricing Selected Works of Robert Jarrow, chapter 17, pages 377-409 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    7. Merton, Robert C., 1971. "Optimum consumption and portfolio rules in a continuous-time model," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 373-413, December.
    8. Leland, Hayne E & Toft, Klaus Bjerre, 1996. " Optimal Capital Structure, Endogenous Bankruptcy, and the Term Structure of Credit Spreads," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 51(3), pages 987-1019, July.
    9. Longstaff, Francis A & Schwartz, Eduardo S, 1995. " A Simple Approach to Valuing Risky Fixed and Floating Rate Debt," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 50(3), pages 789-819, July.
    10. Harrison, J. Michael & Kreps, David M., 1979. "Martingales and arbitrage in multiperiod securities markets," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 381-408, June.
    11. Pierre Collin-Dufresne, 2001. "Do Credit Spreads Reflect Stationary Leverage Ratios?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(5), pages 1929-1957, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Longjie Jia & Martijn Pistorius & Harry Zheng, 2017. "Dynamic Portfolio Optimization with Looping Contagion Risk," Papers 1710.05168,
    2. repec:wsi:ijtafx:v:17:y:2014:i:08:n:s0219024914500502 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Tomasz Bielecki & Inwon Jang, 2006. "Portfolio optimization with a defaultable security," Asia-Pacific Financial Markets, Springer;Japanese Association of Financial Economics and Engineering, vol. 13(2), pages 113-127, June.
    4. Kraft, Holger & Steffensen, Mogens, 2008. "How to invest optimally in corporate bonds: A reduced-form approach," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 348-385, February.

    More about this item


    Default Risk; Corporate Bond; Asset Allocation; Welfare Analysis;

    JEL classification:

    • D9 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • D6 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics


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