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Estimating the price of default risk

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  • Gregory R. Duffee

Abstract

A firm's instantaneous probability of default is modeled as a square-root diffusion process. The parameters of these processes are estimated for 188 firms, using both the time series and cross-sectional (term structure) properties of the individual firms' bond prices. Although the estimated models are moderately successful at bond pricing, there is strong evidence of misspecification. The results indicate that single factor models of instantaneous default risk face a significant challenge in matching certain key features of actual corporate bond yield spreads. In particular, such models have difficulty generating both relatively flat yield spreads when firms have low credit risk and steeper yield spreads when firms have higher credit risk.

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  • Gregory R. Duffee, 1996. "Estimating the price of default risk," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 96-29, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:96-29
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.).
    2. Jones, E Philip & Mason, Scott P & Rosenfeld, Eric, 1984. " Contingent Claims Analysis of Corporate Capital Structures: An Empirical Investigation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 39(3), pages 611-625, July.
    3. Ball, Clifford A. & Torous, Walter N., 1996. "Unit roots and the estimation of interest rate dynamics," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 215-238, June.
    4. Dilip Madan & Haluk Unal, 1996. "Pricing the Risks of Default," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 94-16, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
    5. Mark Grinblatt, 2001. "An Analytic Solution for Interest Rate Swap Spreads," International Review of Finance, International Review of Finance Ltd., vol. 2(3), pages 113-149.
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    7. John C. Cox & Jonathan E. Ingersoll Jr. & Stephen A. Ross, 2005. "A Theory Of The Term Structure Of Interest Rates," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: Theory Of Valuation, chapter 5, pages 129-164 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    8. Robert A. Jarrow & David Lando & Stuart M. Turnbull, 2008. "A Markov Model for the Term Structure of Credit Risk Spreads," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: Financial Derivatives Pricing Selected Works of Robert Jarrow, chapter 18, pages 411-453 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    9. 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.
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    11. Merton, Robert C, 1974. "On the Pricing of Corporate Debt: The Risk Structure of Interest Rates," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 29(2), pages 449-470, May.
    12. Gregory R. Duffee, "undated". "Treasury Yields and Corporate Bond Yield Spreads: An Empirical Analysis," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1996-20, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    13. Duan, Jin-Chuan & Simonato, Jean-Guy, 1999. "Estimating and Testing Exponential-Affine Term Structure Models by Kalman Filter," Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting, Springer, vol. 13(2), pages 111-135, September.
    14. Fisher, Lawrence, 1984. " Contingent Claims Analysis of Corporate Capital Structures: An Empirical Investigation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 39(3), pages 625-627, July.
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    16. Duffie, Darrell & Huang, Ming, 1996. " Swap Rates and Credit Quality," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 51(3), pages 921-949, July.
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    Keywords

    Credit ; Risk;

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