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Credit Ratings Accuracy and Analyst Incentives

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  • Heski Bar-Isaac
  • Joel Shapiro

Abstract

The financial crisis has brought a new focus on the accuracy of credit rating agencies (CRAs). In this paper, we highlight the incentives of analysts at the CRAs to provide accurate ratings. We construct a model in which analysts initially work at a CRA and can then either remain or move to a bank. The CRA uses incentive contracts to motivate analysts, but does not capture the benefits if the analyst moves. We find that rating agency accuracy increases with CRA monitoring, bank profitability (a positive "revolving door" effect), and can be non-monotonic in the probability of an analyst leaving.

Suggested Citation

  • Heski Bar-Isaac & Joel Shapiro, 2011. "Credit Ratings Accuracy and Analyst Incentives," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(3), pages 120-124, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:101:y:2011:i:3:p:120-24
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
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    3. Bar-Isaac, Heski & Shapiro, Joel, 2013. "Ratings quality over the business cycle," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(1), pages 62-78.
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    5. Adam B. Ashcraft & Paul Goldsmith-Pinkham & James Vickery, 2010. "MBS ratings and the mortgage credit boom," Staff Reports 449, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    6. Strausz, Roland, 2005. "Honest certification and the threat of capture," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 23(1-2), pages 45-62, February.
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