We test the theoretical equivalence of credit default swap (CDS) prices and credit spreads derived by Duffie (1999), finding support for the parity relation as an equilibrium condition. We also find two forms of deviation from parity. First, for three firms, CDS prices are substantially higher than credit spreads for long periods of time, arising from combinations of imperfections in the contract specification of CDSs and measurement errors in computing the credit spread. Second, we find short-lived deviations from parity for all other companies due to a lead for CDS prices over credit spreads in the price discovery process.
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