Default compensator, incomplete information, and the term structure of credit spreads
We provide a framework for the analysis of term structures of credit spreads on corporate bonds in the presence of informational asymmetries. While bond investors observe default incidents, we suppose that they have incomplete information on the firm's assets and/or the threshold asset level at which informed equity investors liquidate the firm. As a natural tool for the characterization of conditional default probabilities, prices of default-contingent claims, and credit spreads, we construct the compensator of default in terms of investors' threshold prior and the conditional running minimum asset distribution. With perfect asset observation, a new phenomenon appears: the default compensator is singular. Here an arrival intensity for default does not exist even though the default is completely unpredictable. In a setting where the assets of the firm follow a geometric Brownian motion, we show that the term structure of credit spreads is decreasing or hump-shaped, depending on the level of the current asset value. Spreads for maturities going to zero are only positive if the assets are at an historic low and the firm is quite risky. With imperfect asset observation, an arrival intensity for default does exist. This intensity is characterized through the compensator. In the geometric Brownian motion setting, the spread term structure is always decreasing with strictly positive spreads.
|Date of creation:||2001|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Web page: http://www.wiwi.hu-berlin.de/
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Merton, Robert C., 1973.
"On the pricing of corporate debt: the risk structure of interest rates,"
684-73., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
- 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.
- Harrison, J. Michael & Kreps, David M., 1979. "Martingales and arbitrage in multiperiod securities markets," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 381-408, June.
- Anderson, Ronald W & Sundaresan, Suresh, 1996. "Design and Valuation of Debt Contracts," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 9(1), pages 37-68.
- Leland, Hayne E, 1994.
" Corporate Debt Value, Bond Covenants, and Optimal Capital Structure,"
Journal of Finance,
American Finance Association, vol. 49(4), pages 1213-52, September.
- Hayne E. Leland., 1994. "Corporate Debt Value, Bond Covenants, and Optimal Capital Structure," Research Program in Finance Working Papers RPF-233, University of California at Berkeley.
- Black, Fischer & Cox, John C, 1976. "Valuing Corporate Securities: Some Effects of Bond Indenture Provisions," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 31(2), pages 351-67, May.
- Hayne E. Leland and Klaus Bjerre Toft., 1995.
"Optimal Capital Structure, Endogenous Bankruptcy, and the Term Structure of Credit Spreads,"
Research Program in Finance Working Papers
RPF-259, University of California at Berkeley.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 637-54, May-June.
- Duffie, Darrell & Lando, David, 2001. "Term Structures of Credit Spreads with Incomplete Accounting Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(3), pages 633-64, May.
- Sarig, Oded & Warga, Arthur, 1989. " Some Empirical Estimates of the Risk Structure of Interest Rates," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 44(5), pages 1351-60, December.
- Geske, Robert, 1979. "The valuation of compound options," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 63-81, March.
- 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.
- Philippe Artzner & Freddy Delbaen, 1995. "Default Risk Insurance And Incomplete Markets," Mathematical Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 5(3), pages 187-195.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:zbw:sfb373:20028. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (ZBW - German National Library of Economics)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.