We examine differences in default rates by sector and obligor domicile. We find evidence that credit ratings have been imperfectly calibrated across issuer sectors in the past. Controlling for year of issue and rating, default rates appear to be higher for U.S. financial firms than for U.S. industrial firms. Sectoral differences in recovery rates do not offset the higher default rates. By contrast, we do not find significant differences in default rates between U.S. and foreign firms.
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Last update: July 19, 2001