Dynamic Dispersed Information and the Credit Spread Puzzle

42 Pages Posted: 4 Jan 2014

See all articles by Elias Albagli

Elias Albagli

University of Southern California - Marshall School of Business; Central Bank of Chile

Christian Hellwig

University of Toulouse 1 - Toulouse School of Economics (TSE)

Aleh Tsyvinski

Yale University - Cowles Foundation

Date Written: January 2014

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

Albagli, Elias and Hellwig, Christian and Tsyvinski, Aleh, Dynamic Dispersed Information and the Credit Spread Puzzle (January 2014). NBER Working Paper No. w19788. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2374582

Elias Albagli (Contact Author)

University of Southern California - Marshall School of Business ( email )

701 Exposition Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States
56987096932 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.marshall.usc.edu/faculty/directory/albagli

Central Bank of Chile ( email )

Publicaciones
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Santiago
Chile

Christian Hellwig

University of Toulouse 1 - Toulouse School of Economics (TSE) ( email )

Place Anatole-France
Toulouse Cedex, F-31042
France

Aleh Tsyvinski

Yale University - Cowles Foundation ( email )

28 Hillhouse Ave
New Haven, CT 06520-8268
United States
203-432-9163 (Phone)

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