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Changes in volatility of credit spread and market efficiency during rapid growth of credit-related securities

By Christopher Hessel and Jun Wang

Abstract

This paper investigates the changes in credit spread volatility during 1993-2001. We find that the credit spreads between junk-grade corporate bonds and Treasury bonds were significantly more volatile in the second half of this period when credit-related securities became popular. In contrast, investment-grade bonds exhibited no significant change in volatility. The junk bonds variance ratios changed from being less than one to greater than one. Using the GJR-Garch model, the conditional volatilities of junk bonds increased in the second half of the period and the mean reversion speeds slowed, suggesting a longer time for mean reversion to occur. Our analysis rules out treasury volatility, credit spread level, equity market return, T-bill rate, curvature of the Treasury curve, financial crisis, quantity of defaults and standard deviation of defaults as explanations for the increase in junk bond volatility. In contrast, volatility of equity returns provides a partial explanation of junk bond spread volatility in the later period.Portfolio analysis, Portfolio theory, Optimization, Advanced econometrics,

DOI identifier: 10.1080/14697680903067112
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