August 2023

Default Clustering Risk Premium and its Cross-Market Asset Pricing Implications

Kiwoong Byun, Baeho Kim, and Dong Hwan Oh


This study examines the market-implied premiums for bearing default clustering risk by analyzing credit derivatives contracts on the CDX North American Investment Grade (CDX.NA.IG) portfolio between September 2005 and March 2021. Our approach involves constructing a time series of reference tranche rates exclusively derived by single-name CDS spreads. The default clustering risk premium (DCRP) is captured by comparing the original and reference tranche spreads, with the former exceeding the latter when investors require greater compensation for correlated defaults at the portfolio level. The fitted DCRP level significantly increased in response to the 2007-9 global financial crisis and remained relatively stable for a period, followed by a gradual decline beginning in 2016. Notably, the COVID-19 shock caused another sharp rise in the DCRP level. Our empirical analysis finds that the estimated DCRP has significant implications for asset pricing, particularly in affecting the investment opportunities available to U.S. stock investors during times of instability in the financial system.

Keywords: Credit Default Swap (CDS), CDS Index (CDX), Reference Tranche Rate, Default Clustering Risk Premium


PDF: Full Paper

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Last Update: August 18, 2023