NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Kay Giesecke

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Working Papers

February 2012Macroeconomic Effects of Corporate Default Crises: A Long-Term Perspective
with Francis A. Longstaff, Stephen Schaefer, Ilya Strebulaev: w17854
Using an extensive new data set on corporate bond defaults in the U.S. from 1866 to 2010, we study the macroeconomic effects of bond market crises and contrast them with those resulting from banking crises. During the past 150 years, the U.S. has experienced many severe corporate default crises in which 20 to 50 percent of all corporate bonds defaulted. Although the total par amount of corporate bonds has often rivaled the amount of bank loans outstanding, we find that corporate default crises have far fewer real effects than do banking crises. These results provide empirical support for current theories that emphasize the unique role that banks and the credit and collateral channels play in amplifying macroeconomic shocks.

Macroeconomic Effects of Corporate Bond Default Crises: A 150-Year Perspective (with K. Giesecke, I. Strebulaev, and S. Schaefer), Journal of Financial Economics, forthcoming.

March 2010Corporate Bond Default Risk: A 150-Year Perspective
with Francis A. Longstaff, Stephen Schaefer, Ilya Strebulaev: w15848
We study corporate bond default rates using an extensive new data set spanning the 1866-2008 period. We find that the corporate bond market has repeatedly suffered clustered default events much worse than those experienced during the Great Depression. For example, during the railroad crisis of 1873-1875, total defaults amounted to 36 percent of the par value of the entire corporate bond market. We examine whether corporate default rates are best forecast by structural, reduced-form, or macroeconomic credit models and find that variables suggested by structural models outperform the others. Default events are only weakly correlated with business downturns. We find that over the long term, credit spreads are roughly twice as large as default losses, resulting in an average credit risk premiu...

Published: Corporate Bond Default Risk: A 150-Year Perspective (with K. Giesecke, I. Strebulaev, and S. Schaefer), Journal of Financial Economics 102, 233-250, 2011.

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