Measuring Correlated Default Risk: A New Metric and Validity Tests
Posted: 20 Sep 2015 Last revised: 22 Jul 2017
Date Written: January 1, 2017
Extracting information from daily CDS spreads, we propose a measure of correlated default risk, which we show is a meaningful predictor of bankruptcy clusters. Focusing on U.S. corporate bonds, we also find that our measure of correlated default risk is more pronounced and commands a higher premium during periods of financial distress and for speculative issues. For instance, we find that after controlling for other known determinants of bond pricing, a 0.5 increase in aggregate correlated default risk is associated with a 13-bps increase in credit spreads, and elevates to a 22-bps premium for speculative issues and to a 17-bps premium during periods of financial distress. Overall, our paper provides compelling evidence as to the efficacy of our measure in capturing correlations in the likelihood of default over time, and has important implications for future work in asset allocation and fixed-income pricing.
Keywords: correlated default risk, correlation in probability of default, credit default swap (CDS) spreads, credit spreads
JEL Classification: G01, G12, G13
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