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What Drives the Cross-Section of Credit Spreads?: A Variance Decomposition Approach
I decompose the cross-sectional variation of the credit spreads for corporate bonds into changing expected returns and changing expectation of credit losses with a model-free method. Using a log-linearized pricing identity and a vector autoregression applied to micro-level data from 1973 to 2011, I find that the expected credit loss component and the excess return component each explains about half of the variance of the credit spreads. Unlike the market-level findings in Gilchrist and Zakrajsek (2012), at the firm level, the expected credit loss is volatile and affects the firms' investment ...
Climate Regulatory Risks and Corporate Bonds
Investor concerns about climate and other environmental regulatory risks suggest that these risks should affect corporate bond risk assessment and pricing. We test this hypothesis and find that firms with poor environmental profiles or high carbon footprints tend to have lower credit ratings and higher yield spreads, particularly when their facilities are located in states with stricter regulatory enforcement. Using the Paris Agreement as a shock to expected climate risk regulations, we provide evidence that climate regulatory risks causally affect bond credit ratings and yield spreads. ...
Dealer Balance Sheet Capacity and Market Liquidity during the 2013 Selloff in Fixed-Income Markets
Long-term interest rates hit record-low levels in 2012 but have since increased substantially. As discussed in an earlier post, the sharpest increase occurred between May 2 and July 5 of this year, with the ten-year Treasury yield rising from 1.63 percent to 2.74 percent. During the May-July episode, market liquidity also deteriorated. Some market participants have suggested that constraints on dealer balance sheet capacity impaired liquidity during the selloff, amplifying the magnitude and speed of the rise in interest rates and volatility. In this post, we review the evolution of Treasury ...