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MBS Ratings and the Mortgage Credit Boom

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  • Ashcraft, A.
  • Goldsmith-Pinkham, P.
  • Vickery, J.

    (Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research)

Abstract

We study credit ratings on subprime and Alt-A mortgage-backed securities (MBS) deals issued between 2001 and 2007, the period leading up to the subprime crisis. The fraction of highly-rated securities in each deal is decreasing in mortgage credit risk (measured either ex-ante or ex-post), suggesting ratings contain useful information for investors. However, we also find evidence of significant time-variation in risk-adjusted credit ratings, including a progressive decline in standards around the MBS market peak between the start of 2005 and mid-2007. Conditional on initial ratings, we observe underperformance (high mortgage defaults and losses, and large rating downgrades) amongst deals with observably higher-risk mortgages based on a simple ex-ante model, and deals with a high fraction of opaque low-documentation loans. These findings hold over the entire sample period, not just for deal cohorts most affected by the crisis.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research in its series Discussion Paper with number 2010-89S.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:dgr:kubcen:201089s

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Web page: http://center.uvt.nl

Related research

Keywords: Credit Rating Agencies; Subprime Crisis; Mortgage-Backed Securities;

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References

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  1. Beatriz Mariano, 2008. "Do reputational concerns lead to reliable ratings?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 24433, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  2. Efraim Benmelech & Jennifer Dlugosz, 2009. "The Credit Rating Crisis," NBER Working Papers 15045, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    • 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.
  3. Patrick Bolton & Xavier Freixas & Joel Shapiro, 2010. "The credit ratings game," Economics Working Papers 1221, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  4. Ashcraft, Adam B. & Schuermann, Til, 2008. "Understanding the Securitization of Subprime Mortgage Credit," Foundations and Trends(R) in Finance, now publishers, vol. 2(3), pages 191-309, June.
  5. 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.
  6. Bar-Isaac, Heski & Shapiro, Joel, 2010. "Ratings Quality over the Business Cycle," CEPR Discussion Papers 8156, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Faure-Grimaud, Antoine & Peyrache, Eloïc & Quesada, Lucía, 2005. "The Ownership of Ratings," CEPR Discussion Papers 5432, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Gary Gorton, 2008. "The Panic of 2007," Yale School of Management Working Papers amz2372, Yale School of Management.
  9. Kristopher S. Gerardi & Andreas Lehnert & Shane M. Sherlund & Paul S. Willen, 2009. "Making sense of the subprime crisis," Working Paper 2009-02, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  10. Geetesh Bhardwaj & Rajdeep Sengupta, 2008. "Where's the smoking gun? a study of underwriting standards for US subprime mortgages," Working Papers 2008-036, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  11. 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.
  12. Andrew Haughwout & Richard Peach & Joseph Tracy, 2008. "Juvenile delinquent mortgages: bad credit or bad economy?," Staff Reports 341, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  13. Joshua Coval & Jakub Jurek & Erik Stafford, 2009. "The Economics of Structured Finance," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 23(1), pages 3-25, Winter.
  14. 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.
  15. Cantor, Richard, 2001. "Moody's investors service response to the consultative paper issued by the Basel Committee on Bank Supervision "A new capital adequacy framework"," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 171-185, January.
  16. Opp, Christian C. & Opp, Marcus M. & Harris, Milton, 2013. "Rating agencies in the face of regulation," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(1), pages 46-61.
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