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Jarrow Turnbull Model


The Jarrow Turnbull Model is a credit risk model developed by Robert Jarrow and Stuart Turnbull in 1995. It is used to value credit derivatives and assess default probabilities for bonds and loans in the financial market. The model incorporates changes in interest rates, credit spreads, and macroeconomic factors to deliver a comprehensive and dynamic estimation of credit risk.


The phonetics of the keyword “Jarrow Turnbull Model” are: /ˈdʒæroʊ ˈtɜrnbʊl ˈmɒdl/Jarrow: /ˈdʒæroʊ/Turnbull: /ˈtɜrnbʊl/Model: /ˈmɒdl/

Key Takeaways

  1. The Jarrow Turnbull Model is an influential credit risk model that focuses on the probability of default for structured financial products, such as bonds and credit derivatives. It was developed by Ph.D. Robert Jarrow and Stuart Turnbull in the early 1990s.
  2. The model uses the concept of reduced-form pricing, applying a mathematical framework to estimate the likelihood of default and assess the value of a credit-sensitive instrument. It models the hazard rate (default intensity) using a combination of macroeconomic factors and firm-specific factors, providing a more detailed analysis than earlier structural models.
  3. Jarrow Turnbull Model was the first to incorporate stochastic interest rates in credit risk modeling. It laid the foundation for modern credit risk management frameworks and has been widely adopted by practitioners, regulators, and academics in the field of credit risk assessment and pricing.


The Jarrow Turnbull Model is an important business and finance concept because it represents a pioneering approach in the field of credit risk modeling. Developed by Robert Jarrow and Stuart Turnbull in 1995, this model provides a framework for assessing the probability of default for bonds and other debt securities based on the underlying structural and macroeconomic factors. By incorporating both firm-specific and market-driven factors affecting credit risk, the Jarrow Turnbull Model allows financial institutions, investors, and regulators to better understand, price, and manage credit risks associated with portfolios, and individual debt securities. Consequently, this model has played a crucial role in improving risk management practices and optimizing investment decisions in the global financial market.


The Jarrow Turnbull Model serves a crucial purpose in modern finance by facilitating the assessment and management of credit risk associated with fixed-income securities, particularly bonds. As one of the pioneering frameworks for understanding the dynamics of credit risk, this model provides market participants such as portfolio managers, financial analysts, and risk managers with an invaluable tool to gauge the potential for losses stemming from credit events. By incorporating various factors like economic conditions, the financial health of the issuer, and possible recovery rates, the model generates a risk-neutral probability of default and the expected credit spreads that account for the credit risk component of the bond prices. Consequently, the model equips financial professionals with the ability to make more informed decisions regarding their investments and risk exposures, and in the broader context, it contributes to a more efficient and stable financial market.

Moreover, the Jarrow Turnbull Model is particularly notable due to its application of reduced-form methodology to capture the uncertainties surrounding credit risk. This methodology acknowledges the complexities involved in credit risk modeling and utilizes market-observable data to estimate the probability of default, recognizing that the real-world factors driving credit risk may be too numerous to account for comprehensively. Through its use of risk-neutral probabilities, the model inherently accounts for both market risk and credit risk premiums, offering a more sophisticated approach to credit risk analysis. Furthermore, by incorporating stochastic interest rates, the Jarrow Turnbull Model is capable of evaluating the impact of interest rate fluctuations on credit risk and bond prices.

Ultimately, the Jarrow Turnbull Model addresses the inherent challenges present in credit risk modeling and delivers actionable insights, which enhances risk management and investment allocation strategies across the financial industry.


The Jarrow Turnbull Model, developed by Robert Jarrow and Stuart Turnbull in the 1990s, is a structural model used to assess credit risk through the valuation of credit-sensitive debt instruments. It’s widely used by banks, financial institutions, and investors in order to price bond options, credit default swaps, and analyze the risk associated with debt portfolios. Here are three real-world examples of the Jarrow Turnbull Model in action:

1. Pricing Corporate Bonds: Financial institutions often utilize the Jarrow Turnbull Model to determine the credit spread on a corporate bond relative to a risk-free government bond. This helps to ascertain the bond’s appropriate return above the risk-free rate, taking into consideration the possibility of default. By using this model to assess a company’s creditworthiness, banks can more accurately determine the price at which they should buy or sell corporate bonds.

2. Management of Credit Portfolios: Banks and other financial institutions utilize the Jarrow Turnbull Model to manage their loan portfolios and assess the impact of credit risk on their overall balance sheets. This information is critical for decision-making on matters such as lending or the provisioning of funds for loan loss allowances. The model enables them to adjust their credit exposure appropriately and avoid excessive risk concentrations.

3. Pricing Credit Derivatives: Credit derivatives, such as credit default swaps (CDS), are financial instruments that are used to hedge or speculate on the credit risk of a reference entity (often a company, government, or other issuer of debt). Market participants use the Jarrow Turnbull Model to price these instruments, taking into account the probability of default and the expected loss upon default, by considering various factors such as the reference entity’s financial stability and the prevailing macroeconomic conditions.

Pricing credit derivatives correctly helps ensure that counterparty risks are better managed, and market liquidity can be enhanced.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is the Jarrow Turnbull Model?

The Jarrow Turnbull Model is a widely recognized credit risk model that was developed by Robert Jarrow and Stuart Turnbull in 1995. It is designed to assess the probability of default for loans, bonds, or other financial instruments, taking into account changes in both macroeconomic conditions and firm-specific characteristics. The model utilizes a reduced-form approach and is used by financial institutions, regulators, and investors to better understand and manage credit risk.

What is the main contribution of the Jarrow Turnbull Model?

The Jarrow Turnbull Model introduced the concept of a “forward credit spread” that incorporates both interest rate and credit risk. This innovation allowed the model to capture the joint dynamics of interest rate and credit risk in the pricing of credit-sensitive securities, setting it apart from earlier credit risk models.

How does the Jarrow Turnbull Model work?

The Jarrow Turnbull Model uses a reduced-form approach, where the occurrence of default events is modeled using a stochastic process, driven by both macroeconomic factors and firm-specific factors. The model assumes that both interest rates and default rates can change over time, and it estimates the probability of default using a combination of historical data and forward-looking market indicators.

What are the key assumptions of the Jarrow Turnbull Model?

There are several key assumptions in the Jarrow Turnbull Model, including:1. Default risk is driven by both macroeconomic and firm-specific factors.2. The credit spread is a function of both interest rates and credit risk.3. Interest rate and credit spread processes are assumed to follow a mean-reverting stochastic process.4. Default events are treated as Poisson processes, where the probabilities of default are computed from the model parameters.

What are the main applications of the Jarrow Turnbull Model?

The Jarrow Turnbull Model has numerous applications in finance, including:1. Credit risk management: Assessing the default risk of borrowers or counterparties.2. Pricing of credit-sensitive securities: Applying the model to price bonds, loans, or other credit instruments.3. Portfolio risk management: Analyzing the potential credit risk exposure of a portfolio.4. Regulatory and compliance purposes: Calculating risk-weighted assets and assessing the capital adequacy of financial institutions.

What are the limitations of the Jarrow Turnbull Model?

Despite its popularity and applicability, the Jarrow Turnbull Model has some limitations:1. Model calibration: The model requires extensive calibration using historical data and assumptions, which may not always be accurate or readily available.2. Simplifying assumptions: Some of the model’s assumptions may not hold true in all scenarios, potentially limiting its accuracy in predicting credit risk.3. Market data dependency: Changes in market data may affect the model’s outputs, necessitating frequent recalibration.

Related Finance Terms

  • Credit Risk Modelling
  • Default Probability
  • Economic Factors
  • Stochastic Intensity Process
  • Reduced-form Model

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