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Default Risk, Systematic Risk and Thai Firms Before, During and After the Asian Crisis


  • Byström , Hans

    () (Department of Economics, Lund University)

  • Worasinchai , Lugkana

    (School of Business, Bangkok University)

  • Chongsithipol , Srisuda

    (Graduate School, Bangkok University)


This paper applies the Merton (1974) default probability model to the firms in the SET-50 index at the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET). It also examines the rela- tionship between a firm's default probability and firm-specific characteristics like size and book-to-market ratio, and whether default risk is systematic or not. We believe this to be the first paper dealing with these issues using data from an emerging country. The study also differs from other studies by dealing with how the default risk of firms in different sec- tors of the economy changes during a severe crisis. Overall, we find a significant increase in market based default probabilities around the crisis and a fairly slow return to pre-crisis levels. The first sector to suffer a deterioration in creditworthiness was the sector of finance and securities firms and the worst effected sector at the peak of the Asian crisis was the building materials sector. There are further some indications of the most distressed firms being on average somewhat smaller than the least distressed, but only during the crisis. We do not find significant evidence of the book-to-market ratio being related to the default risk in this particular market, though. Finally, if default risk is systematic, one would expect that default risk is rewarded by higher returns. However, in this sample the level of default risk of a firm does not seem to be able to explain the firm's subsequent realized returns at different horizons. We therefore reject the hypothesis that default risk is systematic.

Suggested Citation

  • Byström , Hans & Worasinchai , Lugkana & Chongsithipol , Srisuda, 2004. "Default Risk, Systematic Risk and Thai Firms Before, During and After the Asian Crisis," Working Papers 2005:5, Lund University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:lunewp:2005_005

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Bystrom, Hans N. E., 2004. "The market's view on the probability of banking sector failure: cross-country comparisons," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 14(5), pages 419-438, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Suzan Hol, 2006. "The influence of the business cycle on bankruptcy probability," Discussion Papers 466, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
    2. Marjit, Sugata & Das, Pranab Kumar & Bardhan, Samaresh, 2007. "A portfolio based theory of excessive foreign borrowing and capital control in a small open economy," Research in International Business and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 175-187, June.
    3. Tabak, Benjamin M. & Staub, Roberta B., 2007. "Assessing financial instability: The case of Brazil," Research in International Business and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 188-202, June.
    4. Tabak, Benjamin M. & Luduvice, André Victor D. & Cajueiro, Daniel O., 2011. "Modeling default probabilities: The case of Brazil," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 21(4), pages 513-534, October.
    5. Marcelo Yoshio Takami & Benjamin Miranda Tabak, 2006. "Avaliação Do Risco Sistêmico Do Setor Bancário Brasileiro," Anais do XXXIV Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 34th Brazilian Economics Meeting] 96, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
    6. Evrensel, Ayse Y. & Kutan, Ali M., 2007. "IMF-related announcements and stock market returns: Evidence from financial and non-financial sectors in Indonesia, Korea, and Thailand," Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 80-104, January.
    7. Jacques, Sébastien & Lai, Van Son & Soumaré, Issouf, 2011. "Synthetizing a debt guarantee: Super-replication versus utility approach," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 27-40, January.
    8. Dinh, Thi Huyen Thanh & Kleimeier, Stefanie, 2007. "A credit scoring model for Vietnam's retail banking market," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 16(5), pages 471-495.

    More about this item


    Thailand; stock market; default probabilities;

    JEL classification:

    • C20 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - General
    • G33 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Bankruptcy; Liquidation

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