Date of Award

Summer 8-2016

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Financial Economics


Economics and Finance

Major Professor

Dr. M. Kabir Hassan

Second Advisor

Dr. Walter Lane

Third Advisor

Dr. Atsuyuki Naka

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Duygu Zirek

Fifth Advisor

Dr. Jung-Suk Yu


This dissertation comprises two essays; the first of which investigates sovereign credit risk interdependencies, while the second examines the reaction of corporate credit risk to sovereign credit risk events. The first essay titled, Characterizing Sovereign Credit Risk Interdependencies: Evidence from the Credit Default Swap Market, investigates the relationships that exist among disparate sovereign credit default swaps (CDS) and the implications on sovereign creditworthiness. We exploit emerging market sovereign CDS spreads to examine the reaction of sovereign credit risk to changes in country-specific and global financial factors. Utilizing aVAR model fitted with DCC GARCH, we find that comovements of spreads generally exhibit significant time-varying correlations, suggesting that spreads are commonly affected by global financial factors. We construct 19 country-specific commodity price indexes to instrument for country terms of trade, obtaining significant results. Our commodity price indexes account for significant variation in CDS spreads, controlling for global financial factors. In addition, sovereign spreads are found to be related to U.S. stock market returns and the VIX volatility risk premium global factors. Notwithstanding, our results suggest that terms of trade and commodity prices have a statistically and economically significant effect on the sovereign credit risk of emerging economies. Our results apply broadly to investors, financial institutions and policy makers motivated to utilize profitable factors in global portfolios.

The second essay is titled, Differential Stock Market Returns and Corporate Credit Risk of Listed Firms. This essay explores the information transfer effect of shocks to sovereign credit risk as captured in the CDS and stock market returns of cross-listed and local stock exchange listed firms. Based on changes in sovereign credit ratings and outlooks, we find that widening CDS spreads of firms imply that negative credit events dominate, whereas tightening spreads indicate positive events. Grouping firms into companies with cross-listings and those without, we compare the spillover effects and find strong evidence of contagion across equity and CDS markets in both company groupings. Our findings suggest that the sensitivity of corporate CDS prices to sovereign credit events is significantly larger for non-cross-listed firms. Possible reasons for this finding could in fact be due to cross-listed firms’ better access to external capital and less degree of asymmetric information, relative to non-cross-listed peers with lower level of investor recognition. Our results provide new evidence relevant to investors and financial institutions in determining sovereign credit risk germane to corporate financial risk, for the construction of debt and equity portfolios, and hedging considerations in today’s dynamic environment.


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