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Treasury yields and corporate bond yield spreads: an empirical analysis

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  • Gregory R. Duffee

Abstract

This paper empirically examines the relation between the Treasury term structure and spreads of investment grade corporate bond yields over Treasuries. I find that noncallable bond yield spreads fall when the level of the Treasury term structure rises. The extent of this decline depends on the initial credit quality of the bond; the decline is small for Aaa-rated bonds and large for Baa-rated bonds. The role of the business cycle in generating this pattern is explored, as is the link between yield spreads and default risk. I also argue that yield spreads based on commonly-used bond yield indexes are contaminated in two important ways. The first is that they are ``refreshed'' indexes, which hold credit ratings constant over time; the second is that they usually are constructed with both callable and noncallable bonds. The impact of both of these problems is examined.

Suggested Citation

  • Gregory R. Duffee, 1996. "Treasury yields and corporate bond yield spreads: an empirical analysis," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 96-20, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:96-20
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Xie, Yan Alice & Liu, Sheen & Wu, Chunchi & Anderson, Bing, 2009. "The effects of default and call risk on bond duration," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 33(9), pages 1700-1708, September.
    2. Carol Alexandra & Jacques Pezier, 2003. "On the Aggregation of Market and Credit Risks," ICMA Centre Discussion Papers in Finance icma-dp2003-13, Henley Business School, Reading University.
    3. Jeremy Leake, 2003. "Credit spreads on sterling corporate bonds and the term structure of UK interest rates," Bank of England working papers 202, Bank of England.
    4. Jonathan Batten & Francis In, 2006. "Dynamic interaction and valuation of quality yen Eurobonds in a multivariate EGARCH framework," Applied Financial Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(12), pages 881-892.
    5. Viral V. Acharya & Jennifer N. Carpenter, 2002. "Corporate Bond Valuation and Hedging with Stochastic Interest Rates and Endogenous Bankruptcy," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 15(5), pages 1355-1383.
    6. Dailami, Mansoor & Hauswald, Robert, 2001. "Contract risks and credit spread determinants in the international project bond market," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2712, The World Bank.
    7. Charles S. Morris & Robert Neal & Doug Rolph, 1998. "Credit spreads and interest rates : a cointegration approach," Research Working Paper 98-08, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
    8. Masazumi Hattori & Koji Koyama & Tatsuya Yonetani, 2001. "Analysis of credit spread in Japan's corporate bond market," BIS Papers chapters,in: Bank for International Settlements (ed.), The changing shape of fixed income markets: a collection of studies by central bank economists, volume 5, pages 113-146 Bank for International Settlements.
    9. Alejandro Revéiz Hérault, "undated". "Factores determinantes de los márgenes entre bonos del gobierno y bonos corporativos en los Estados Unidos," Lecturas en Finanzas 002710, Banco de la Republica de Colombia.
    10. Santos, Joao A.C., 2006. "Why firm access to the bond market differs over the business cycle: A theory and some evidence," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 30(10), pages 2715-2736, October.
    11. Galina Hale & João A. C. Santos, 2006. "Evidence on the costs and benefits of bond IPOs," Working Paper Series 2006-42, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
    12. repec:wsi:rpbfmp:v:14:y:2011:i:03:n:s0219091511002202 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. George Athanassakos & Peter Carayannopoulos, 2001. "An empirical analysis of the relationship of bond yield spreads and macro economic factors," Applied Financial Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(2), pages 197-207.
    14. Duffee, Gregory R, 1999. "Estimating the Price of Default Risk," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 12(1), pages 197-226.

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    Keywords

    Bonds ; Government securities;

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