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Credit Ratings as Coordination Mechanism

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  • Boot, Arnoud W A
  • Milbourn, Todd

Abstract

In this Paper, we provide a novel rationale for credit ratings. The rationale that we propose is that credit ratings can serve as a coordinating mechanism in situations where multiple equilibria can obtain. We show that credit ratings provide a ‘focal point’ for firms and their investors. We explore the vital – but previously overlooked – implicit contractual relationship between a credit rating agency and a firm. Credit ratings can help fix the desired equilibrium and as such play an economically meaningful role. Our model provides several empirical predictions and insights regarding the expected price impact of ratings changes, the discreteness in funding cost changes, and the effect of the focus of organizations on the efficacy of credit ratings.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 3331.

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Date of creation: Apr 2002
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:3331

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Keywords: coordination; credit ratings; multiple equilibria;

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References

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  1. Milton Harris & Artur Raviv, 1997. "Capital Budgeting and Delegation," CRSP working papers 452, Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.
  2. Spatt, Chester & Srivastava, Sanjay, 1991. "Preplay Communication, Participation Restrictions, and Efficiency in Initial Public Offerings," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 4(4), pages 709-26.
  3. Douglas Gale, 1992. "Informational Capacity and Financial Collapse," Papers 0038, Boston University - Industry Studies Programme.
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  8. Cantor, Richard & Packer, Frank, 1997. "Differences of opinion and selection bias in the credit rating industry," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 21(10), pages 1395-1417, October.
  9. Alessandro Lizzeri, 1999. "Information Revelation and Certification Intermediaries," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 30(2), pages 214-231, Summer.
  10. Stephen Morris, 2001. "Political Correctness," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(2), pages 231-265, April.
  11. Doron Kliger & Oded Sarig, . "The Information Value of Bond Ratings," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 13-97, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
  12. Ederington, Louis H. & Goh, Jeremy C., 1998. "Bond Rating Agencies and Stock Analysts: Who Knows What When?," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 33(04), pages 569-585, December.
  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. Robert Townsend, 1979. "Optimal contracts and competitive markets with costly state verification," Staff Report 45, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  15. Louis H. Ederington & Jess B. Yawitz & Brian E. Roberts, 1984. "The Informational Content of Bond Ratings," NBER Working Papers 1323, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Pamela Nickell & William Perraudin & Simone Varotto, 2001. "Ratings versus equity-based credit risk modelling: an empirical analysis," Bank of England working papers 132, Bank of England.
  17. Gale, Douglas & Hellwig, Martin, 1985. "Incentive-Compatible Debt Contracts: The One-Period Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(4), pages 647-63, October.
  18. Diamond, Douglas W, 1991. "Monitoring and Reputation: The Choice between Bank Loans and Directly Placed Debt," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(4), pages 689-721, August.
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