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Credit Default Swaps and the Credit Crisis

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  • René M. Stulz

Abstract

Many observers have argued that credit default swaps contributed significantly to the credit crisis. Of particular concern to these observers are that credit default swaps trade in the largely unregulated over-the-counter market as bilateral contracts involving counterparty risk and that they facilitate speculation involving negative views of a firm's financial strength. Some observers have suggested that credit default swaps would not have made the crisis worse had they been traded on exchanges. I conclude that credit default swaps did not cause the dramatic events of the credit crisis, that the over-the-counter credit default swaps market worked well during much of the first year of the credit crisis, and that exchange trading has both advantages and costs compared to over-the-counter trading. Though I argue that eliminating over-the-counter trading of credit default swaps could reduce social welfare, I also recognize that much research is needed to understand better and quantify the social gains and costs of derivatives in general and credit default swaps in particular.

Suggested Citation

  • René M. Stulz, 2009. "Credit Default Swaps and the Credit Crisis," NBER Working Papers 15384, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15384
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Darrell Duffie, 2012. "Over-The-Counter Markets," Introductory Chapters,in: Dark Markets: Asset Pricing and Information Transmission in Over-the-Counter Markets Princeton University Press.
    2. Acharya, Viral V. & Johnson, Timothy C., 2007. "Insider trading in credit derivatives," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 110-141, April.
    3. Bernadette Minton & René Stulz & Rohan Williamson, 2009. "How Much Do Banks Use Credit Derivatives to Hedge Loans?," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer;Western Finance Association, vol. 35(1), pages 1-31, February.
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    5. Roberto Blanco & Simon Brennan & Ian W. Marsh, 2004. "An empirical analysis of the dynamic relationship between investment grade bonds and credit default swaps," Working Papers 0401, Banco de España;Working Papers Homepage.
    6. Roberto Blanco & Simon Brennan & Ian W. Marsh, 2005. "An Empirical Analysis of the Dynamic Relation between Investment-Grade Bonds and Credit Default Swaps," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(5), pages 2255-2281, October.
    7. Diamond, Douglas W. & Verrecchia, Robert E., 1987. "Constraints on short-selling and asset price adjustment to private information," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 277-311, June.
    8. Rajesh K. Aggarwal & Guojun Wu, 2006. "Stock Market Manipulations," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 79(4), pages 1915-1954, July.
    9. Ashcraft, Adam B. & Schuermann, Til, 2008. "Understanding the Securitization of Subprime Mortgage Credit," Foundations and Trends(R) in Finance, now publishers, vol. 2(3), pages 191-309, June.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises
    • G13 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Contingent Pricing; Futures Pricing
    • G14 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Information and Market Efficiency; Event Studies; Insider Trading
    • G18 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G24 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Investment Banking; Venture Capital; Brokerage
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation

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