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PIGS or Lambs? The European Sovereign Debt Crisis and the Role of Rating Agencies

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  • Gärtner, Manfred

    ()

  • Griesbach, Bjoern

    ()

  • Jung, Florian

    ()

Abstract

This paper asks whether rating agencies played a passive role or were an active driving force during Europe's sovereign debt crisis. We address this by estimating relationships between sovereign debt ratings and macroeconomic and structural variables. We then use these equ-ations to decompose actual ratings into systematic and arbitrary components that are not explained by observed previous procedures of rating agencies. Next, we check whether both systematic and arbitrary parts of credit ratings affect credit spreads. We find that both do, which opens the possibility that arbitrary rating downgrades trigger processes of self-fulfilling prophecy that may drive even relatively healthy countries towards default.

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File URL: http://www1.vwa.unisg.ch/RePEc/usg/econwp/EWP-1106.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science in its series Economics Working Paper Series with number 1106.

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Length: 22 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:usg:econwp:2011:06

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Keywords: Sovereign debt ratings; sovereign default; debt crisis; budget deficit; rating agencies; PIGS; risk premiums; government bond spreads.;

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References

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  1. Roberto Perrelli & Christian B. Mulder, 2001. "Foreign Currency Credit Ratings for Emerging Market Economies," IMF Working Papers 01/191, International Monetary Fund.
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  8. Afonso, António & Gomes, Pedro & Rother, Philipp, 2007. "What “hides” behind sovereign debt ratings?," Working Paper Series 0711, European Central Bank.
  9. Barry Eichengreen & Ashoka Mody, 2000. "What Explains Changing Spreads on Emerging Market Debt?," NBER Chapters, in: Capital Flows and the Emerging Economies: Theory, Evidence, and Controversies, pages 107-134 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  11. Edda Zoli & Silvia Sgherri, 2009. "Euro Area Sovereign Risk During the Crisis," IMF Working Papers 09/222, International Monetary Fund.
  12. Constantin Mellios & Eric Paget-Blanc, 2006. "Which factors determine sovereign credit ratings?," The European Journal of Finance, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(4), pages 361-377.
  13. Makram El-Shagi, 2010. "The role of rating agencies in financial crises: event studies from the Asian flu," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 34(4), pages 671-685.
  14. Antonio Afonso & Pedro Gomes & Philipp Rother, 2009. "Ordered response models for sovereign debt ratings," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(8), pages 769-773.
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  16. Hu, Yen-Ting & Kiesel, Rudiger & Perraudin, William, 2002. "The estimation of transition matrices for sovereign credit ratings," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 26(7), pages 1383-1406, July.
  17. Gomez-Puig, Marta, 2006. "Size matters for liquidity: Evidence from EMU sovereign yield spreads," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 90(2), pages 156-162, February.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Schmid, Kai Daniel & Schmidt, Michael, 2012. "EMU, the changing role of public debt and the revival of sovereign credit risk perception," University of Tuebingen Working Papers in Economics and Finance 48, University of Tuebingen, Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences.
  2. Zeaiter, Hussein Zeaiter, 2013. "Sovereign Debt Defaults: Evidence using Extreme bounds Analysis," Working Papers 32/2013, Universidade Portucalense, Centro de Investigação em Gestão e Economia (CIGE).
  3. Sylvester C.W. Eijffinger, 2012. "Rating Agencies: Role and Influence of Their Sovereign Credit Risk Assessment in the Eurozone," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(6), pages 912-921, November.
  4. Gärtner, Manfred & Griesbach, Björn & Mennillo, Giulia, 2013. "The near-death experience of the Celtic Tiger: a model-driven narrative from the European sovereign debt crisis," Economics Working Paper Series 1321, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.
  5. Kai Daniel Schmid & Michael Schmidt, 2012. "EMU and the Renaissance of Sovereign Credit Risk Perception," IAW Discussion Papers 87, Institut für Angewandte Wirtschaftsforschung (IAW).
  6. Dominique Guegan & Bertrand Hassani & Xin Zhao, 2013. "Emerging Countries Sovereign Rating Adjustment using Market Information: Impact on Financial Institutions Investment Decisions," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00820839, HAL.
  7. Sottile, Pedro, 2013. "On the political determinants of sovereign risk: Evidence from a Markov-switching vector autoregressive model for Argentina," Emerging Markets Review, Elsevier, vol. 15(C), pages 160-185.
  8. Gärtner, Manfred & Griesbach, Björn, 2012. "Rating agencies, self-fulfilling prophecy and multiple equilibria? An empirical model of the European sovereign debt crisis 2009-2011," Economics Working Paper Series 1215, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.
  9. Dominique Guegan & Bertrand K. Hassani & Xin Zhao, 2013. "Emerging Countries Sovereign Rating Adjustment using Market Information: Impact on Financial Institution Investment Decisions," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne 13034, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne.

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