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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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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. Block, Steven A. & Vaaler, Paul M., 2004. "The price of democracy: sovereign risk ratings, bond spreads and political business cycles in developing countries," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 23(6), pages 917-946, October.
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  3. 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.
  4. Gomez-Puig, Marta, 2006. "Size matters for liquidity: Evidence from EMU sovereign yield spreads," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 90(2), pages 156-162, February.
  5. Jonathan Eaton & Mark Gersovitz & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1991. "The Pure Theory of Country Risk," NBER Chapters, in: International Volatility and Economic Growth: The First Ten Years of The International Seminar on Macroeconomics, pages 391-435 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. 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.
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  8. Edda Zoli & Silvia Sgherri, 2009. "Euro Area Sovereign Risk During the Crisis," IMF Working Papers 09/222, International Monetary Fund.
  9. Helmut Reisen & Julia von Maltzan, 1999. "Boom and Bust and Sovereign Ratings," OECD Development Centre Working Papers 148, OECD Publishing.
  10. Afonso, António & Gomes, Pedro & Rother, Philipp, 2007. "What “hides” behind sovereign debt ratings?," Working Paper Series 0711, European Central Bank.
  11. Roberto Perrelli & Christian B. Mulder, 2001. "Foreign Currency Credit Ratings for Emerging Market Economies," IMF Working Papers 01/191, International Monetary Fund.
  12. 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.
  13. Richard Cantor & Frank Packer, 1996. "Determinants and impact of sovereign credit ratings," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Oct, pages 37-53.
  14. António Afonso & Pedro Gomes & Philipp Rother, 2006. "Ordered Response Models for Sovereign Debt Ratings," Working Papers Department of Economics 2006/34, ISEG - School of Economics and Management, Department of Economics, University of Lisbon.
  15. 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.
  16. Sebastian Edwards, 2000. "Capital Flows and the Emerging Economies: Theory, Evidence, and Controversies," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number edwa00-1, July.
  17. Simone Manganelli & Guido Wolswijk, 2009. "What drives spreads in the euro area government bond market?," Economic Policy, CEPR & CES & MSH, vol. 24, pages 191-240, 04.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Finn Marten Körner & Hans-Michael Trautwein, 2013. "Sovereign Credit Ratings and the Transnationalization of Finance - Evidence from a Gravity Model of Portfolio Investment," ZenTra Working Papers in Transnational Studies 20 / 2013, ZenTra - Center for Transnational Studies, revised Feb 2014.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Dumitriu, Ramona & Stefanescu, Razvan, 2014. "Perspective ale ţintirii inflaţiei
    [Perspectives of the Inflation Targeting]
    ," MPRA Paper 52943, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 14 Jan 2014.
  8. Gaertner, Manfred, 2014. "Standards are Poor: On Competence and Professional Integrity at the Leading Rating Agency," Economics Working Paper Series 1418, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.
  9. 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).
  10. 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.
  11. Kai Daniel Schmid & Michael Schmidt, 2012. "EMU and the Renaissance of Sovereign Credit Risk Perception," IAW Discussion Papers 87, Institut für Angewandte Wirtschaftsforschung (IAW).

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