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The Term Structure of Credit Risk: Estimates and Specification Tests


  • Robert E. Cumby
  • Martin D.D. Evans


This paper examines alternative methods for making inferences about the value and dynamics of (unobserved) credit quality from market prices. Using data on Brady bonds issued by Mexico, Venezuela, and Costa Rica, we show that estimates of credit quality from of a simple model (often used by practitioners) with a constant conditional probability of default are dynamically inconsistent; the market distinguishes between current and future credit quality. We then examine two models with this feautre. The first assumes that credit quality follows a diffusion process while the second assumes mean reverting dynmanics for credti quality. Although these models have very different implications for the asymptotic probability of default, we show that it is impossible to distinguish between them on the basis of the few years of high frequency data in our sample. We then examine the possible consequences for the pricing of new issues that can arise from the misspecification ! of the asymptotic probabilities.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert E. Cumby & Martin D.D. Evans, 1995. "The Term Structure of Credit Risk: Estimates and Specification Tests," Working Papers 95-14, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ste:nystbu:95-14

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Christiano, Lawrence J & Eichenbaum, Martin, 1995. "Liquidity Effects, Monetary Policy, and the Business Cycle," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 27(4), pages 1113-1136, November.
    2. Jeffrey A. Frankel, 1993. "On Exchange Rates," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262061546, July.
    3. Clarida, Richard & Gali, Jordi, 1994. "Sources of real exchange-rate fluctuations: How important are nominal shocks?," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 1-56, December.
    4. Christiano, Lawrence J & Eichenbaum, Martin, 1992. "Liquidity Effects and the Monetary Transmission Mechanism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(2), pages 346-353, May.
    5. Sims, Christopher A., 1992. "Interpreting the macroeconomic time series facts : The effects of monetary policy," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 36(5), pages 975-1000, June.
    6. Grilli, Vittorio & Roubini, Nouriel, 1993. "Liquidity, capital controls, and exchange rates," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 139-153, April.
    7. Grilli, Vittorio & Roubini, Nouriel, 1992. "Liquidity and exchange rates," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3-4), pages 339-352, May.
    8. Grilli, Vittorio & Roubini, Nouriel, 1991. "Financial Intermediation and Monetary Policies in the World Economy," CEPR Discussion Papers 566, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    9. Martin Eichenbaum & Charles Evans, 1992. "Some empirical evidence on the effects of monetary policy shocks on exchange rates," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues 92-32, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    10. Sims, Christopher A. & Zha, Tao, 2006. "Does Monetary Policy Generate Recessions?," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(02), pages 231-272, April.
    11. Fuerst, Timothy S., 1992. "Liquidity, loanable funds, and real activity," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 3-24, February.
    12. Don E. Schlagenhauf & Jeffry M. Wrase, 1992. "A monetary, open-economy model with capital mobility," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 67, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    13. Dornbusch, Rudiger, 1976. "Expectations and Exchange Rate Dynamics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(6), pages 1161-1176, December.
    14. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1990. "Liquidity and interest rates," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 237-264, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Simonne Varotto, 2001. "Credit Risk Diversification," ICMA Centre Discussion Papers in Finance icma-dp2001-07, Henley Business School, Reading University.

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