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Endogenous trading in Credit Default Swaps


Chesney, Marc; Coculescu, Delia; Gokay, Selim (2016). Endogenous trading in Credit Default Swaps. Decisions in Economics and Finance, 39(1):1-31.

Abstract

We introduce a real options model in order to quantify the moral hazard impact of credit default swap (CDS) positions on the corporate default probabilities. Moral hazard is widely addressed in the insurance literature, where the insured agent may become less cautious about preventing the risk from occurring. Importantly, with CDS the moral hazard problem may be magnified since one can buy multiple protections for the same bond. To illustrate this issue, we consider a firm with the possibility of switching from an investment to another one. An investor can influence the strategic decisions of the firm and can also trade CDS written on the firm. We analyze how the decisions of the investor influence the firm value when he is allowed to trade credit default contracts on the firm’s debt. Our model involves a time-dependent optimal stopping problem, which we study analytically and numerically, using the Longstaff–Schwartz algorithm. We identify the situations where the investor exercises the switching option with a loss, and we measure the impact on the firm’s value and firm’s default probability. Contrary to the common intuition, the investors’ optimal behavior does not systematically consist in buying CDSs and increase the default probabilities. Instead, large indifference zones exist, where no arbitrage profits can be realized. As the number of the CDSs in the position increases to exceed several times the level of a complete insurance, we enter in the zone where arbitrage profits can be made. These are obtained by implementing very aggressive strategies (i.e., increasing substantially the default probability by producing losses to the firm). The profits increase sharply as we exit the indifference zone.

Abstract

We introduce a real options model in order to quantify the moral hazard impact of credit default swap (CDS) positions on the corporate default probabilities. Moral hazard is widely addressed in the insurance literature, where the insured agent may become less cautious about preventing the risk from occurring. Importantly, with CDS the moral hazard problem may be magnified since one can buy multiple protections for the same bond. To illustrate this issue, we consider a firm with the possibility of switching from an investment to another one. An investor can influence the strategic decisions of the firm and can also trade CDS written on the firm. We analyze how the decisions of the investor influence the firm value when he is allowed to trade credit default contracts on the firm’s debt. Our model involves a time-dependent optimal stopping problem, which we study analytically and numerically, using the Longstaff–Schwartz algorithm. We identify the situations where the investor exercises the switching option with a loss, and we measure the impact on the firm’s value and firm’s default probability. Contrary to the common intuition, the investors’ optimal behavior does not systematically consist in buying CDSs and increase the default probabilities. Instead, large indifference zones exist, where no arbitrage profits can be realized. As the number of the CDSs in the position increases to exceed several times the level of a complete insurance, we enter in the zone where arbitrage profits can be made. These are obtained by implementing very aggressive strategies (i.e., increasing substantially the default probability by producing losses to the firm). The profits increase sharply as we exit the indifference zone.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Banking and Finance
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Language:English
Date:1 April 2016
Deposited On:10 Jun 2016 10:41
Last Modified:01 Feb 2017 01:02
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:1593-8883
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s10203-015-0168-7
Related URLs:http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10203-015-0168-7 (Publisher)
Other Identification Number:merlin-id:12159

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