Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

The Credit Ratings Game

Contents:

Author Info

  • Patrick Bolton
  • Xavier Freixas
  • Joel Shapiro

Abstract

The collapse of so many AAA-rated structured finance products in 2007-2008 has brought renewed attention to the causes of ratings failures and the conflicts of interest in the Credit Ratings Industry. We provide a model of competition among Credit Ratings Agencies (CRAs) in which there are three possible sources of conflicts: 1) the CRA conflict of interest of understating credit risk to attract more business; 2) the ability of issuers to purchase only the most favorable ratings; and 3) the trusting nature of some investor clienteles who may take ratings at face value. We show that when combined, these give rise to three fundamental equilibrium distortions. First, competition among CRAs can reduce market effciency, as competition facilitates ratings shopping by issuers. Second, CRAs are more prone to inate ratings in boom times, when there are more trusting investors, and when the risks of failure which could damage CRA reputation are lower. Third, the industry practice of tranching of structured products distorts market efficiency as its role is to deceive trusting investors. We argue that regulatory intervention requiring: i) upfront payments for rating services (before CRAs propose a rating to the issuer), ii) mandatory disclosure of any rating produced by CRAs, and iii) oversight of ratings methodology can substantially mitigate ratings ination and promote efficiency.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://research.barcelonagse.eu/tmp/working_papers/468.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Barcelona Graduate School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 468.

as in new window
Length:
Date of creation: May 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:468

Contact details of provider:
Postal: Ramon Trias Fargas, 25-27, 08005 Barcelona
Phone: +34 93 542-1222
Fax: +34 93 542-1223
Email:
Web page: http://www.barcelonagse.eu
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords: Credit rating agencies; conflicts of interest; ratings shopping;

Other versions of this item:

Find related papers by JEL classification:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Jose A. Scheinkman & Wei Xiong, 2003. "Overconfidence and Speculative Bubbles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(6), pages 1183-1219, December.
  2. Pagano, Marco & Volpin, Paolo, 2008. "Securitization, Transparency and Liquidity," Working Papers 09-1, University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School, Weiss Center.
  3. Benabou, Roland & Laroque, Guy, 1992. "Using Privileged Information to Manipulate Markets: Insiders, Gurus, and Credibility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(3), pages 921-58, August.
  4. Alessandro Lizzeri, 1999. "Information Revelation and Certification Intermediaries," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 30(2), pages 214-231, Summer.
  5. Faure-Grimaud, Antoine & Peyrache, Eloïc & Quesada, Lucía, 2005. "The Ownership of Ratings," CEPR Discussion Papers 5432, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Erik Durbin & Ganesh Iyer, 2009. "Corruptible Advice," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 220-42, August.
  7. Morgan, John & Stocken, Phillip C, 2003. " An Analysis of Stock Recommendations," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 34(1), pages 183-203, Spring.
  8. Benmelech, Efraim & Dlugosz, Jennifer, 2009. "The alchemy of CDO credit ratings," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(5), pages 617-634, July.
  9. Arnoud W. A. Boot & Todd T. Milbourn, 2002. "Credit Ratings as Coordination Mechanisms," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 457, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  10. Adam B. Ashcraft & Til Schuermann, 2008. "Understanding the securitization of subprime mortgage credit," Staff Reports 318, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  11. Ashcraft, A. & Goldsmith-Pinkham, P. & Vickery, J., 2010. "MBS Ratings and the Mortgage Credit Boom," Discussion Paper 2010-89S, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  12. Strausz, Roland, 2004. "Honest Certification and the Threat of Capture," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 25, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  13. Hand, John R M & Holthausen, Robert W & Leftwich, Richard W, 1992. " The Effect of Bond Rating Agency Announcements on Bond and Stock Prices," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(2), pages 733-52, June.
  14. Berger, Allen N & Davies, Sally M & Flannery, Mark J, 2000. "Comparing Market and Supervisory Assessments of Bank Performance: Who Knows What When?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 32(3), pages 641-67, August.
  15. Kartik, Navin & Ottaviani, Marco & Squintani, Francesco, 2007. "Credulity, lies, and costly talk," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 134(1), pages 93-116, May.
  16. Dion Bongaerts & K.J. Martijn Cremers & William N. Goetzmann, 2009. "Tiebreaker: Certification and Multiple Credit Ratings," NBER Working Papers 15331, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Roman Inderst & Marco Ottaviani, 2009. "Misselling through Agents," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(3), pages 883-908, June.
  18. Mathis, Jérôme & McAndrews, James & Rochet, Jean-Charles, 2009. "Rating the raters: Are reputation concerns powerful enough to discipline rating agencies?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(5), pages 657-674, July.
  19. Bo Becker & Todd Milbourn, 2008. "Reputation and competition: evidence from the credit rating industry," Harvard Business School Working Papers 09-051, Harvard Business School, revised Sep 2010.
  20. Stolper, Anno, 2009. "Regulation of credit rating agencies," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 33(7), pages 1266-1273, July.
  21. Souphala Chomsisengphet & Anthony Pennington-Cross, 2006. "The evolution of the subprime mortgage market," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jan, pages 31-56.
  22. Harrison, J Michael & Kreps, David M, 1978. "Speculative Investor Behavior in a Stock Market with Heterogeneous Expectations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 92(2), pages 323-36, May.
  23. Emmanuel Farhi & Josh Lerner & Jean Tirole, 2008. "Fear of Rejection? Tiered Certification and Transparency," NBER Working Papers 14457, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Bolton, Patrick & Freixas, Xavier & Shapiro, Joel, 2007. "Conflicts of interest, information provision, and competition in the financial services industry," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(2), pages 297-330, August.
  25. Reinhart, Carmen & Levich, Richard & Majoni, Giovanni, 2002. "Ratings, rating agencies and the global financial system: Summary and policy implications," MPRA Paper 13249, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  26. Hirshleifer, David & Teoh, Siew Hong, 2003. "Limited attention, information disclosure, and financial reporting," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1-3), pages 337-386, December.
  27. Jean-Jacques Laffont & Jean Tirole, 1993. "A Theory of Incentives in Procurement and Regulation," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262121743, January.
  28. Beatriz Mariano, 2008. "Do Reputational Concerns Lead to Reliable Ratings?," FMG Discussion Papers dp613, Financial Markets Group.
  29. Navin Kartik, 2009. "Strategic Communication with Lying Costs," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(4), pages 1359-1395.
  30. Efraim Benmelech & Jennifer Dlugosz, 2010. "The Credit Rating Crisis," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2009, Volume 24, pages 161-207 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  31. repec:rje:randje:v:37:y:2006:1:p:155-175 is not listed on IDEAS
  32. Marco Ottaviani & Peter Norman Sørensen, 2006. "Reputational cheap talk," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 37(1), pages 155-175, 03.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Credit rating inflation and naive investors
    by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2009-04-03 02:26:00
Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page.

Lists

This item is featured on the following reading lists or Wikipedia pages:
  1. Economic Logic blog

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:468. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Bruno Guallar).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.