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Koopman, S. and Lucas, A. (2008). A non-gaussian panel time series model for estimating and decomposing default risk. Journal of Business and Economic Statistics, 26(4):510-525.


  • Journal
    Journal of Business and Economic Statistics

We model 1981-2005 quarterly default frequencies for a panel of U.S. firms in different rating and age classes from the Standard and Poor database. The data are decomposed into systematic and firm-specific risk components, where the systematic component reflects the general economic conditions and the default climate. We need to cope with: the shared exposure of each age cohort, industry, and rating class to the same systematic risk factor; strongly non-Gaussian features of the individual time series; possible dynamics of an unobserved common risk factor; changing default probabilities over the age of the rating; and missing observations. We propose a non-Gaussian multivariate state-space model that deals with all of these issues simultaneously. The model is estimated using importance sampling techniques that have been modified to a multivariate setting. We show in a simulation study that such a multivariate approach improves the performance of the importance sampler. In our empirical work, we find that systematic credit risk may differ substantially in terms of magnitude and timing across industries. © 2008 American Statistical Association.