Journal of Risk

Sequential defaults and incomplete information

Kay Giesecke, Lisa R. Goldberg


We propose a multi-firm first-passage credit model in which investors have incomplete information. In this model, investors observe neither a firm’s value nor its default barrier. The model takes into account the short-term risk inherent in default events, the market-wide impact of defaults on security prices due to counterparty relations among firms, and the cyclical default dependence effects observed in credit markets. We explicitly calculate the pricing trend and the arrival intensity of the kth-to-default. These results furnish (1) tractable reducedform formulae for arrival probabilities of sequential dependent defaults and prices of multi-name credit derivatives, and (2) an algorithm for the simulation of sequential unpredictable default times.

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