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Lucas, André, Pieter Klaassen, "Discrete versus Continuous State Switching Models for Portfolio Credit Risk", Journal of Banking & Finance, Vol. 30, No. 1, (January 2006), pp. 23-35.

Abstract: Dynamic models for credit rating transitions are important ingredients for dynamic credit risk analyses. We compare the properties of two such models that have recently been put forward. The models mainly differ in their treatment of systematic risk, which can be modeled either using discrete states (e.g., expansion versus recession) or continuous states. It turns out that the implied asset correlations and default rate volatilities for discrete state switching models are implausibly low compared to empirical estimates from the literature. We conclude that care has to be taken when discrete state regime switching models are employed for dynamic credit risk management. As a side result of our analysis, we obtain indirect evidence that asset correlations may change over the business cycle.

JEL Classification: G21, C22, C53.

Keywords: Credit risk, Regime switching, Latent variable models; Factor models.

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