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In Rememberance: World Trade Center (WTC)

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Term Structures of Credit Spreads with Incomplete Accounting Information

by Darrell Duffie of Stanford University, and
David Lando of the University of Copenhagen

May 2001

Abstract: We study the implications of imperfect information for term structures of credit spreads on corporate bonds. We suppose that bond investors cannot observe the issuer's assets directly, and receive instead only periodic and imperfect accounting reports. For a setting in which the assets of the firm are a geometric Brownian motion until informed equityholders optimally liquidate, we derive the conditional distribution of the assets, given accounting data and survivorship. Contrary to the perfect-information case, there exists a default-arrival intensity process. That intensity is calculated in terms of the conditional distribution of assets. Credit yield spreads are characterized in terms of accounting information. Generalizations are provided.

Published in: Econometrica, Vol. 69, No. 3, (May 2001), pp. 633-664.

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