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Dynamic Dispersed Information and the Credit Spread Puzzle

  • Elias Albagli
  • Christian Hellwig
  • Aleh Tsyvinski

We develop a dynamic nonlinear, noisy REE model of credit risk pricing under dispersed information that can theoretically and quantitatively account for the credit spread puzzle. The first contribution is a sharp analytical characterization of the dynamic REE equilibrium and its comparative statics. Second, we show that the nonlinearity of the bond payoff in the environment with dispersed information and limits to arbitrage leads to underpricing of corporate debt and to spreads that over-state the probability of default. This underpricing is most pronounced for high investment grade, short maturity bonds. Third, we calibrate to the empirical data on the belief dispersion and show that the model generates spreads that explain between 16 to 42% of the empirical values for 4-year high investment grade, and 35 to 46% for 10-year, high investment grade bonds. These magnitudes are in line with empirical estimates linking bond spreads to empirical measures of investor disagreement, and substantially higher than most structural models of credit risk. The primary contribution of our paper in moving NREE models towards a more realistic asset pricing environment -- dynamic, nonlinear, and quantitative -- that holds significant promise for explaining empirical asset pricing puzzles.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19788.

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Date of creation: Jan 2014
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19788
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  1. Kay Giesecke & Francis A. Longstaff & Stephen Schaefer & Ilya Strebulaev, 2010. "Corporate Bond Default Risk: A 150-Year Perspective," NBER Working Papers 15848, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Hua He and Jiang Wang., 1993. "Differential Information and Dynamic Behavior of Stock Trading Volume," Research Program in Finance Working Papers RPF-228, University of California at Berkeley.
  3. Harrison, J Michael & Kreps, David M, 1978. "Speculative Investor Behavior in a Stock Market with Heterogeneous Expectations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 92(2), pages 323-36, May.
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  5. Biais, Bruno & Bossaerts, Peter & Spatt, Chester, 2009. "Equilibrium Asset Pricing and Portofolio Choice Under Asymmetric Information," IDEI Working Papers 474, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
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  8. Hellwig, Martin F., 1980. "On the aggregation of information in competitive markets," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 477-498, June.
  9. Güntay, Levent & Hackbarth, Dirk, 2010. "Corporate bond credit spreads and forecast dispersion," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(10), pages 2328-2345, October.
  10. Yu, Fan, 2005. "Accounting transparency and the term structure of credit spreads," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 53-84, January.
  11. Xavier Gabaix, 2008. "Variable Rare Disasters: An Exactly Solved Framework for Ten Puzzles in Macro-Finance," NBER Working Papers 13724, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Giesecke, Kay & Longstaff, Francis A. & Schaefer, Stephen & Strebulaev, Ilya, 2011. "Corporate bond default risk: A 150-year perspective," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(2), pages 233-250.
  13. François Gourio, 2013. "Credit Risk and Disaster Risk," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(3), pages 1-34, July.
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  15. Diamond, Douglas W. & Verrecchia, Robert E., 1981. "Information aggregation in a noisy rational expectations economy," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 221-235, September.
  16. Townsend, Robert M, 1983. "Forecasting the Forecasts of Others," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(4), pages 546-88, August.
  17. Snehal Banerjee, 2011. "Learning from Prices and the Dispersion in Beliefs," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 24(9), pages 3025-3068.
  18. Timothy C. Johnson, 2004. "Forecast Dispersion and the Cross Section of Expected Returns," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(5), pages 1957-1978, October.
  19. Elias Albagli & Christian Hellwig & Aleh Tsyvinski, 2011. "A Theory of Asset Pricing Based on Heterogeneous Information," NBER Working Papers 17548, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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