This study uses the option valuation framework to identify andinvestigate the factors affecting the cross-sectional difference inindividual corporate bonds' default risk. The dollar value of defaultrisk (DVDR) is measured by subtracting the observed trading price of arisky corporate bond from a Cox-Ingersoll-Ross model value of acorresponding pseudo-default-free bond. From an option pricingperspective, DVDR can be modeled as the value of a put option on thefirm's risky assets. The DVDR of an individual investment-grade corporatebond is hypothesized to be related to the bond rating, time to maturity ofthe bond, size of the issuing firm, volatility of firm value, and dividendyield of the issuing firm. In the case of the first four factors, theempirical results are consistent with the predictions from a put optionperspective. There is a mixed relationship between DVDR and dividendyield, however, which provides a weaker support for the prediction of theoption valuation model. Such a mixed relationship documents the importantrole that dividend payments play in signaling a firm's future earnings andreducing overall agency costs. ["In particular, the formula can be usedto derive the discount that should be applied to a corporate bond becauseof the possibility of default." (Black and Scholes (1973), Journal of Political Economy, Abstract, p. 637.)]
Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 3, 2004
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