The Global Credit Spread Puzzle
AbstractUsing security-level credit spread data in eight developed economies, we document a large cross-country
difference in credit spreads conditional on credit ratings and other default risk measures. The standard benchmark structural models not only have difficulty matching credit spreads but also fail to explain the cross-country variation in spreads as well as the dynamic behavior of credit spreads. Since this cross-country variation is positively related to illiquidity measures, we implement an extended structural model that incorporates endogenous liquidity in the secondary market, and find that this model largely explains credit spreads in cross sections and over time. Therefore, default risk itself unlikely explains corporate credit spreads.