Bridge over ocean
1 September 2001 Financial Analysts Journal Volume 57, Issue 5

Default Parameter Estimation Using Market Prices

  1. Robert Jarrow

This article presents a new methodology for estimating recovery rates and the (pseudo) default probabilities implicit in both debt and equity prices. In this methodology, recovery rates and default probabilities are correlated and depend on the state of the macroeconomy. This approach makes two contributions: First, the methodology explicitly incorporates equity prices in the estimation procedure. This inclusion allows the separate identification of recovery rates and default probabilities and the use of an expanded and relevant data set. Equity prices may contain a bubble component—which is essential in light of recent experience with Internet stocks. Second, the methodology explicitly incorporates a liquidity premium in the estimation procedure—which is also essential in light of the large observed variability in the yield spread between risky debt and U.S. Treasury securities and the illiquidities present in risky-debt markets.

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