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A Simple Continuous Measure of Credit Risk

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  • Hans Byström
  • Oh-Kang Kwon

Abstract

This paper introduces a simple continuous measure of credit risk that associates to each firm a risk parameter related to the firm's risk-neutral default intensity. These parameters can be computed from quoted bond prices and allow assignment of credit ratings much finer than those provided by various rating agencies. We estimate the risk measures on a daily basis for a sample of US firms and compare them with the corresponding ratings provided by Moody's and the distance to default measures calculated using the Merton (1974) model. The three measures group the sample of firms into various risk classes in a similar but far from identical way, possibly reflecting the models' different forecasting horizons. Among the three measures, the highest rank correlation is found between our continuous measure and Moody's ratings. The techniques in this paper can be used to extract the entire distribution of inter-temporal risk-neutral default intensities which is useful for time-to-default estimators as well as for pricing credit derivatives.

Suggested Citation

  • Hans Byström & Oh-Kang Kwon, 2003. "A Simple Continuous Measure of Credit Risk," Research Paper Series 111, Quantitative Finance Research Centre, University of Technology, Sydney.
  • Handle: RePEc:uts:rpaper:111
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    File URL: http://www.qfrc.uts.edu.au/research/research_papers/rp111.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Leland, Hayne E & Toft, Klaus Bjerre, 1996. " Optimal Capital Structure, Endogenous Bankruptcy, and the Term Structure of Credit Spreads," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 51(3), pages 987-1019, July.
    2. Oh-Kang Kwon, 2002. "A General Framework for the Construction and the Smoothing of Forward Rate Curves," Research Paper Series 73, Quantitative Finance Research Centre, University of Technology, Sydney.
    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 449-470, May.
    4. Black, Fischer & Scholes, Myron S, 1973. "The Pricing of Options and Corporate Liabilities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(3), pages 637-654, May-June.
    5. Robert A. Jarrow & David Lando & Stuart M. Turnbull, 2008. "A Markov Model for the Term Structure of Credit Risk Spreads," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: Financial Derivatives Pricing Selected Works of Robert Jarrow, chapter 18, pages 411-453 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    6. 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.
    7. Nelson, Charles R & Siegel, Andrew F, 1987. "Parsimonious Modeling of Yield Curves," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 60(4), pages 473-489, October.
    8. 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.
    9. Bolder, David & Streliski, David, 1999. "Yield Curve Modelling at the Bank of Canada," Technical Reports 84, Bank of Canada.
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    Cited by:

    1. Aleksandra Wojcicka, 2012. "Calibration of a credit rating scale for Polish companies," Operations Research and Decisions, Wroclaw University of Technology, Institute of Organization and Management, vol. 3, pages 63-73.
    2. Su-Lien Lu, 2013. "Measuring credit risk by using a parameterized model under risk-neutral measure," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 20(8), pages 719-723, May.
    3. Christina Nikitopoulos-Sklibosios, 2005. "A Class of Markovian Models for the Term Structure of Interest Rates Under Jump-Diffusions," PhD Thesis, Finance Discipline Group, UTS Business School, University of Technology, Sydney, number 6, january-d.
    4. Carl Chiarella & Christina Nikitopoulos Sklibosios & Erik Schlögl, 2007. "A Markovian Defaultable Term Structure Model With State Dependent Volatilities," International Journal of Theoretical and Applied Finance (IJTAF), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 10(01), pages 155-202.
    5. Mariusz Górajski & Dobromił Serwa & Zuzanna Wośko, 2016. "Measuring expected time to default under stress conditions for corporate loans," NBP Working Papers 237, Narodowy Bank Polski, Economic Research Department.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G14 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Information and Market Efficiency; Event Studies; Insider Trading
    • G33 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Bankruptcy; Liquidation

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