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Long run credit risk diversification: empirical decomposition of corporate bond spreads

  • Sun, David
  • Lin, William
  • Nieh, Chien-Chung

Following the reduced-form models of Duffee (1999) and Jarrow, Lando and Yu (2003), this study investigates the risk diversification issue of corporate bond portfolios. Considering especially long run market behavior, our empirical decomposition of corporate bond yield spreads indicates that the idiosyncratic component serves as a good vehicle for risk diversification. Moreover, the diosyncratic spread provides significant inferences about observed conditional corporate bond default rate, while full spread does not. Applying an affine model from Duffie and Singleton (1999), we find that the idiosyncratic credit spreads do not respond empirically to Treasury yields, unlike what is suggested in the structural model of Longstaff and Schwartz (1995) and literatures that follow. Systematic credit spreads are however positively related to Treasury yields in the long-run, but negatively so in the short run, suggesting the validity of both the tax and the option hypotheses. A long-run and optimal decomposition scheme yields an idiosyncratic credit spread measure at a median of 60 b.p. for the Baa index and is specifically compatible with Duffee’s model. It is insensitive to interest rate in the short-run, but would rise slightly with a positive shock in the long run at a rate of one to a hundred. Our findings in the study contribute to the risk practice of bond portfolio diversification.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 37283.

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Date of creation: Oct 2007
Date of revision: Jul 2008
Publication status: Published in Review of Securities and Futures Markets 20.2(2008): pp. 135-187
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:37283
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  1. Robert A. Jarrow & David Lando & Fan Yu, 2005. "Default Risk And Diversification: Theory And Empirical Implications," Mathematical Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(1), pages 1-26.
  2. Pierre Collin-Dufresne, 2001. "The Determinants of Credit Spread Changes," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(6), pages 2177-2207, December.
  3. 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 449-70, May.
  4. Liu, Jun & Longstaff, Francis A. & Mandell, Ravit E., 2004. "The Market Price Of Risk In Interest Rate Swaps: The Roles Of Default And Liquidity Risks," University of California at Los Angeles, Anderson Graduate School of Management qt5z42g22g, Anderson Graduate School of Management, UCLA.
  5. Longstaff, Francis A & Schwartz, Eduardo S, 1995. " A Simple Approach to Valuing Risky Fixed and Floating Rate Debt," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 50(3), pages 789-819, July.
  6. BAI, Jushan & PERRON, Pierre, 1998. "Computation and Analysis of Multiple Structural-Change Models," Cahiers de recherche 9807, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
  7. Gregory R. Duffee, 1998. "The Relation Between Treasury Yields and Corporate Bond Yield Spreads," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 53(6), pages 2225-2241, December.
  8. Saunders, Anthony & Srinivasan, Anand & Walter, Ingo, 2002. "Price formation in the OTC corporate bond markets: a field study of the inter-dealer market," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 95-113.
  9. Barnhill Jr., Theodore M. & Joutz, Frederick L. & Maxwell, William F., 2000. "Factors affecting the yields on noninvestment grade bond indices: a cointegration analysis," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 57-86, May.
  10. Johansen, Soren & Juselius, Katarina, 1990. "Maximum Likelihood Estimation and Inference on Cointegration--With Applications to the Demand for Money," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 52(2), pages 169-210, May.
  11. Duffee, Gregory R, 1999. "Estimating the Price of Default Risk," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 12(1), pages 197-226.
  12. Edwin J. Elton, 2001. "Explaining the Rate Spread on Corporate Bonds," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(1), pages 247-277, 02.
  13. Jarrow, Robert A & Turnbull, Stuart M, 1995. " Pricing Derivatives on Financial Securities Subject to Credit Risk," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 50(1), pages 53-85, March.
  14. Thomas C. Wilson, 1998. "Portfolio credit risk," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Oct, pages 71-82.
  15. Jarrow, Robert A. & Turnbull, Stuart M., 2000. "The intersection of market and credit risk," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 24(1-2), pages 271-299, January.
  16. Duffie, Darrell & Singleton, Kenneth J, 1999. "Modeling Term Structures of Defaultable Bonds," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 12(4), pages 687-720.
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