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Rating risks: risk and uncertainty in an opaque industry

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  • Donald P. Morgan

Abstract

The pattern of disagreement between bond raters suggests that bank and insurance firms are inherently more opaque than other firms. Moody's and Standard and Poor's split more frequently over these financial intermediaries, and the splits are more lopsided, as theory here predicts. Uncertainty over the banks stems from their assets, loans and trading assets in particular, the risks of which are hard to observe or easy to change. Banks' high leverage, which invites agency problems, compounds the uncertainty over their assets. Our findings bear on both the existence and reform of bank regulation.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of New York in its series Staff Reports with number 105.

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Date of creation: 2000
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:105

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Related research

Keywords: Bank assets ; Credit ratings ; Risk;

References

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  1. Stewart C. Myers & Raghuram G. Rajan, 1995. "The Paradox of Liquidity," NBER Working Papers 5143, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Jensen, Michael C, 1986. "Agency Costs of Free Cash Flow, Corporate Finance, and Takeovers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(2), pages 323-29, May.
  3. Mark J. Flannery, 1991. "Debt maturity and the deadweight cost of leverage: optimally financing banking firms," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Nov.
  4. Bonaccorsi di Patti, Emilia & Dell'Ariccia, Giovanni, 2004. "Bank Competition and Firm Creation," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 36(2), pages 225-51, April.
  5. Peter C. Reiss, 1989. "Economic and Financial Determinants of Oil and Gas Exploration Activity," NBER Working Papers 3077, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Jensen, Michael C. & Meckling, William H., 1976. "Theory of the firm: Managerial behavior, agency costs and ownership structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 305-360, October.
  7. Mark S. Carey & Stephen D. Prowse & John D. Rea, 1993. "Recent developments in the market for privately placed debt," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Feb, pages 77-92.
  8. Krasa, Stefan & Villamil, Anne P, 1992. "A Theory of Optimal Bank Size," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 44(4), pages 725-49, October.
  9. Donald P. Morgan & Kevin J. Stiroh, 1999. "Bond market discipline of banks: is the market tough enough?," Staff Reports 95, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  10. Demsetz, Rebecca S & Strahan, Philip E, 1997. "Diversification, Size, and Risk at Bank Holding Companies," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 29(3), pages 300-313, August.
  11. Timothy H. Hannan & Gerald A. Hanweck, 1986. "Bank insolvency risk and the market for large certificates of deposit," Working Papers in Banking, Finance and Microeconomics 86-1, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  12. Diamond, Douglas W, 1984. "Financial Intermediation and Delegated Monitoring," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(3), pages 393-414, July.
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