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Credit Default Swaps in General Equilibrium: Spillovers, Credit Spreads, and Endogenous Default

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  • R. Matthew Darst
  • Ehraz Refayet

Abstract

This paper highlights two new effects of credit default swap markets (CDS) in a general equilibrium setting. First, when firms' cash flows are correlated, CDSs impact the cost of capital{credit spreads{and investment for all firms, even those that are not CDS reference entities. Second, when firms internalize the credit spread changes, the incentive to issue safe rather than risky bonds is fundamentally altered. Issuing safe debt requires a transfer of profits from good states to bad states to ensure full repayment. Alternatively, issuing risky bonds maximizes profits in good states at the expense of default in bad states. Profits fall when credit spreads increase, which raises the opportunity cost of issuing risky debt compared to issuing safe debt. Symmetrically, lower credit spreads reduce the opportunity cost of issuing risky debt relative to safe debt. CDSs affect the credit spread at which firms issue risky debt, and ultimately the opportunity cost of issuing defaultable bonds even when underlying firm fundamentals remain unchanged. Hedging (Speculating on) credit risk lowers (raises) credit spreads and enlarges (reduces) the parameter region over which firms choose to issue risky debt.

Suggested Citation

  • R. Matthew Darst & Ehraz Refayet, 2016. "Credit Default Swaps in General Equilibrium: Spillovers, Credit Spreads, and Endogenous Default," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2016-042, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2016-42
    DOI: 10.17016/FEDS.2016.042r1
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Alan Morrison, 2000. "Credit Derivatives, Disintermediation and Investment Decisions," OFRC Working Papers Series 2001fe01, Oxford Financial Research Centre.
    2. Augustin, Patrick & Subrahmanyam, Marti G. & Tang, Dragon Yongjun & Wang, Sarah Qian, 2014. "Credit Default Swaps: A Survey," Foundations and Trends(R) in Finance, now publishers, vol. 9(1-2), pages 1-196, December.
    3. Norden, Lars & Silva Buston, Consuelo & Wagner, Wolf, 2014. "Financial innovation and bank behavior: Evidence from credit markets," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 130-145.
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    Cited by:

    1. Feixue Gong & Gregory Phelan, 2016. "Debt Collateralization, Structured Finance, and the CDS Basis," Department of Economics Working Papers 2016-06, Department of Economics, Williams College, revised Aug 2017.
    2. Gong Feixue & Gregory Phelan, 2017. "Debt Collateralization, Structured Finance, and the CDS Basis," Department of Economics Working Papers 2017-06, Department of Economics, Williams College.
    3. R. Matthew Darst & Ehraz Refayet, 2017. "A Model of Endogenous Debt Maturity with Heterogeneous Beliefs," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2017-057, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    credit derivatives; spillovers; investment; default risk;

    JEL classification:

    • D52 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - Incomplete Markets
    • D53 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - Financial Markets
    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
    • G10 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates

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