A New Take on the Relationship between Interest rates and Credit Spreads
55 Pages Posted: 14 May 2019
Date Written: October 18, 2016
We revisit the link between interest rates and corporate bond credit spreads by applying Rigobon’s (2003) heteroskedasticity identification methodology to their interconnected dynamics through a bivariate VAR system. This novel approach allows us to account for endogeneity issues and to use this framework to test the various possible explanations for the credit spread – interest rate relation that have been proposed by the literature over the years. This innovative methodology allows us to conclude that credit spreads do indeed respond negatively to interest rates, yet that this negative relation is surprisingly robust to macroeconomic shocks, interest rates characteristics, different volatility regimes, and bond ratings. We also find the magnitude of the negative relation to be larger for high-yield bonds than for investment-grade bonds. Additionally, we are also able to rule out business cycles, the optionlike feature of callable bonds proposed by Duffee (1998), as well as the term spread as the main drivers of the negative nature of the relationship.
JEL Classification: G12, G18, E43
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation