IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/irlaec/v47y2016icp48-66.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

The importance of conflicts of interest in attributing sovereign credit ratings

Author

Listed:
  • Bernal, Oscar
  • Girard, Alexandre
  • Gnabo, Jean-Yves

Abstract

Credit rating agencies (CRAs) have been in the regulator's spotlight since the subprime crisis occurred and they remain under criticism due to suspected conflicts of interest that could arise from clients soliciting a rating. The aim of this paper is to contribute to the current discussion on regulatory failures in CRAs’ activities by testing the existence of a bias in CRAs’ assessment due to conflict of interest. More specifically, we examine whether the solicitation of a rating by a sovereign affects the grade provided by rating agencies. Our empirical results, which are based on a two-step ordered probit for a large set of emerging and industrialized countries, address the issue of self-selection bias for ratings attributed by Standard & Poor's in 2013 and suggest that unsolicited ratings are higher than solicited ones, which goes against the traditional argument of conflict of interest, namely the “blackmail” hypothesis, and supports the idea that CRAs attach an important weight to their reputation in attributing sovereign ratings.

Suggested Citation

  • Bernal, Oscar & Girard, Alexandre & Gnabo, Jean-Yves, 2016. "The importance of conflicts of interest in attributing sovereign credit ratings," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 48-66.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:irlaec:v:47:y:2016:i:c:p:48-66
    DOI: 10.1016/j.irle.2016.05.010
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0144818816300266
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.1016/j.irle.2016.05.010?utm_source=ideas
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Bertrand Candelon & Mr. Amadou N Sy & Mr. Rabah Arezki, 2011. "Sovereign Rating News and Financial Markets Spillovers: Evidence from the European Debt Crisis," IMF Working Papers 2011/068, International Monetary Fund.
    2. Winnie P. H. Poon & Michael Firth, 2005. "Are Unsolicited Credit Ratings Lower? International Evidence From Bank Ratings," Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 32(9-10), pages 1741-1771.
    3. Nadeem Ul Haque & Manmohan S. Kumar & Nelson Mark & Donald J. Mathieson, 1996. "The Economic Content of Indicators of Developing Country Creditworthiness," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 43(4), pages 688-724, December.
    4. H. Kent Baker & Sattar A. Mansi, 2002. "Assessing Credit Rating Agencies by Bond Issuers and Institutional Investors," Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(9&10), pages 1367-1398.
    5. Graciela Kaminsky & Sergio L. Schmukler, 2002. "Emerging Market Instability: Do Sovereign Ratings Affect Country Risk and Stock Returns?," The World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 16(2), pages 171-195, August.
    6. Oliveira, Luís & Curto, José Dias & Nunes, João Pedro, 2012. "The determinants of sovereign credit spread changes in the Euro-zone," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 278-304.
    7. Winnie P. H. Poon & Kam C. Chan, 2010. "Solicited and Unsolicited Credit Ratings: A Global Perspective," Working Papers id:3112, eSocialSciences.
    8. Bekaert, Geert & Harvey, Campbell R. & Lundblad, Christian T. & Siegel, Stephan, 2013. "The European Union, the Euro, and equity market integration," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 109(3), pages 583-603.
    9. Williams, Gwion & Alsakka, Rasha & ap Gwilym, Owain, 2013. "The impact of sovereign rating actions on bank ratings in emerging markets," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 563-577.
    10. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2015. "Financial and Sovereign Debt Crises: Some Lessons Learned and Those Forgotten," Journal of Banking and Financial Economics, University of Warsaw, Faculty of Management, vol. 2(4), pages 5-17, June.
    11. Alexander W. Butler & Larry Fauver, 2006. "Institutional Environment and Sovereign Credit Ratings," Financial Management, Financial Management Association International, vol. 35(3), pages 53-79, September.
    12. Marco Pagano & Paolo Volpin, 2010. "Credit ratings failures and policy options [Cash-in-the-market pricing and optimal resolution of bank failures]," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 25(62), pages 401-431.
    13. Patrick Bolton & Xavier Freixas & Joel Shapiro, 2012. "The Credit Ratings Game," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 67(1), pages 85-112, February.
    14. David H. Romer & Jeffrey A. Frankel, 1999. "Does Trade Cause Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 379-399, June.
    15. Bissoondoyal-Bheenick, Emawtee & Brooks, Robert & Yip, Angela Y.N., 2006. "Determinants of sovereign ratings: A comparison of case-based reasoning and ordered probit approaches," Global Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 136-154, September.
    16. Barry Eichengreen & Ashoka Mody, 1998. "What Explains Changing Spreads on Emerging-Market Debt: Fundamentals or Market Sentiment?," NBER Working Papers 6408, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Jean-Claude Cosset & Jean Roy, 1991. "The Determinants of Country Risk Ratings," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 22(1), pages 135-142, March.
    18. Rachel Christopher & Suk-Joong Kim & Eliza Wu, 2018. "Do Sovereign Credit Ratings Influence Regional Stock and Bond Market Interdependencies in Emerging Countries?," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: Information Spillovers and Market Integration in International Finance Empirical Analyses, chapter 15, pages 517-546, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    19. Poon, Winnie P. H., 2003. "Are unsolicited credit ratings biased downward?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 593-614, April.
    20. Borensztein, Eduardo & Cowan, Kevin & Valenzuela, Patricio, 2013. "Sovereign ceilings “lite”? The impact of sovereign ratings on corporate ratings," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(11), pages 4014-4024.
    21. Afonso, António & Furceri, Davide & Gomes, Pedro, 2012. "Sovereign credit ratings and financial markets linkages: Application to European data," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 606-638.
    22. Patrick Roy, 2013. "Is There a Difference Between Solicited and Unsolicited Bank Ratings and, If So, Why?," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer;Western Finance Association, vol. 44(1), pages 53-86, August.
    23. Bissoondoyal-Bheenick, Emawtee, 2005. "An analysis of the determinants of sovereign ratings," Global Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 15(3), pages 251-280, February.
    24. Winnie P. H. Poon & Junsoo Lee & Benton E. Gup, 2009. "Do Solicitations Matter in Bank Credit Ratings? Results from a Study of 72 Countries," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 41(2‐3), pages 285-314, March.
    25. Mr. Christian B. Mulder & Brieuc Monfort, 2000. "Using Credit Ratings for Capital Requirementson Lending to Emerging Market Economies: Possible Impact of a New Basel Accord," IMF Working Papers 2000/069, International Monetary Fund.
    26. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1997. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(3), pages 557-586, May.
    27. Ferreira, Miguel A. & Gama, Paulo M., 2007. "Does sovereign debt ratings news spill over to international stock markets?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 31(10), pages 3162-3182, October.
    28. French, Kenneth R & Poterba, James M, 1991. "Investor Diversification and International Equity Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(2), pages 222-226, May.
    29. Stock, James H & Wright, Jonathan H & Yogo, Motohiro, 2002. "A Survey of Weak Instruments and Weak Identification in Generalized Method of Moments," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(4), pages 518-529, October.
    30. António Afonso & Pedro Gomes & Philipp Rother, 2011. "Short‐ and long‐run determinants of sovereign debt credit ratings," International Journal of Finance & Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(1), pages 1-15, January.
    31. Bae, Kee-Hong & Stulz, René M. & Tan, Hongping, 2008. "Do local analysts know more? A cross-country study of the performance of local analysts and foreign analysts," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(3), pages 581-606, June.
    32. Beugelsdijk, Sjoerd & Frijns, Bart, 2010. "A cultural explanation of the foreign bias in international asset allocation," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(9), pages 2121-2131, September.
    33. Winnie P. H. Poon & Michael Firth, 2005. "Are Unsolicited Credit Ratings Lower? International Evidence From Bank Ratings," Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 32(9‐10), pages 1741-1771, November.
    34. Eliasson, Ann-Charlotte, 2002. "Sovereign credit ratings," Research Notes 02-1, Deutsche Bank Research.
    35. Alsakka, Rasha & ap Gwilym, Owain, 2012. "Foreign exchange market reactions to sovereign credit news," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 845-864.
    36. Christina E. Bannier & Patrick Behr & Andre Güttler, 2010. "Rating opaque borrowers: why are unsolicited ratings lower?," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 14(2), pages 263-294.
    37. Brooks, Robert & Faff, Robert W. & Hillier, David & Hillier, Joseph, 2004. "The national market impact of sovereign rating changes," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 233-250, January.
    38. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output Per Worker than Others?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(1), pages 83-116.
    39. Horrace, William C. & Oaxaca, Ronald L., 2006. "Results on the bias and inconsistency of ordinary least squares for the linear probability model," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 90(3), pages 321-327, March.
    40. António Afonso & Pedro Gomes & Philipp Rother, 2006. "What “Hides” Behind Sovereign Debt Ratings?," Working Papers Department of Economics 2006/35, ISEG - Lisbon School of Economics and Management, Department of Economics, Universidade de Lisboa.
    41. Eli M. Remolona & Michela Scatigna & Eliza Wu, 2008. "A ratings-based approach to measuring sovereign risk," International Journal of Finance & Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(1), pages 26-39.
    42. Hill, Paula & Brooks, Robert & Faff, Robert, 2010. "Variations in sovereign credit quality assessments across rating agencies," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(6), pages 1327-1343, June.
    43. 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.
    44. Gande, Amar & Parsley, David C., 2005. "News spillovers in the sovereign debt market," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(3), pages 691-734, March.
    45. Mr. Bennett W Sutton & Mr. Luis Catão, 2002. "Sovereign Defaults: The Role of Volatility," IMF Working Papers 2002/149, International Monetary Fund.
    46. Winnie P. H. Poon & Kam C. Chan, 2010. "Solicited and Unsolicited Credit Ratings : A Global Perspective," Finance Working Papers 22815, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
    47. Claudio Borio & Frank Packer, 2004. "Assessing new perspectives on country risk," BIS Quarterly Review, Bank for International Settlements, December.
    48. Lambert, Thomas, 2015. "Lobbying on Regulatory Enforcement Actions: Evidence from Banking," HIT-REFINED Working Paper Series 28, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    49. 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.
    50. Vanja Bozic & Cosimo Magazzino, 2013. "Credit Rating Agencies: The Importance of Fundamentals in the Assessment of Sovereign Ratings," Economic Analysis and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 157-176, September.
    51. Reisen, Helmut & von Maltzan, Julia, 1999. "Boom and Bust and Sovereign Ratings," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 2(2), pages 273-293, July.
    52. Bappaditya Mukhopadhyay, 2006. "Existence of Unsolicited Ratings," Asia-Pacific Financial Markets, Springer;Japanese Association of Financial Economics and Engineering, vol. 13(3), pages 207-233, September.
    53. Miguel A. Segoviano & Carlos Caceres & Vincenzo Guzzo, 2010. "Sovereign Spreads: Global Risk Aversion, Contagion or Fundamentals?," IMF Working Papers 2010/120, International Monetary Fund.
    54. Antonio Afonso, 2003. "Understanding the determinants of sovereign debt ratings: Evidence for the two leading agencies," Journal of Economics and Finance, Springer;Academy of Economics and Finance, vol. 27(1), pages 56-74, March.
    55. Poon, Winnie P. H. & Chan, Kam C., 2010. "Solicited and Unsolicited Credit Ratings: A Global Perspective," ADBI Working Papers 244, Asian Development Bank Institute.
    56. Lawrence J. White, 2010. "Markets: The Credit Rating Agencies," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 24(2), pages 211-226, Spring.
    57. G. Ferri & L.-G. Liu & J. E. Stiglitz, 1999. "The Procyclical Role of Rating Agencies: Evidence from the East Asian Crisis," Economic Notes, Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA, vol. 28(3), pages 335-355, November.
    58. H. Kent Baker & Sattar A. Mansi, 2002. "Assessing Credit Rating Agencies by Bond Issuers and Institutional Investors," Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(9‐10), pages 1367-1398.
    59. Ismailescu, Iuliana & Kazemi, Hossein, 2010. "The reaction of emerging market credit default swap spreads to sovereign credit rating changes," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(12), pages 2861-2873, December.
    60. Paolo Fulghieri & Günter Strobl & Han Xia, 2014. "The Economics of Solicited and Unsolicited Credit Ratings," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 27(2), pages 484-518.
    61. Helmut Reisen & Julia Von Maltzan, 1999. "Boom and Bust and Sovereign Ratings," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 2(2), pages 273-293, July.
    62. Richard Cantor & Frank Packer, 1996. "Determinants and impact of sovereign credit ratings," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, vol. 2(Oct), pages 37-53.
    63. International Monetary Fund, 1996. "The Economic Content of Indicators of Developing Country Creditworthiness," IMF Working Papers 1996/009, International Monetary Fund.
    64. Michael Spence, 1973. "Job Market Signaling," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 87(3), pages 355-374.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Elnaz Gholipour & B'ela Vizv'ari & Zolt'an Lakner, 2020. "Reconstruction Rating Model of Sovereign Debt by Logical Analysis of Data," Papers 2011.14112, arXiv.org.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Zoran Ivanovic & Sinisa Bogdan & Suzana Baresa, 2015. "Modeling and Estimating Shadow Sovereign Ratings," Contemporary Economics, University of Economics and Human Sciences in Warsaw., vol. 9(3), September.
    2. Luitel, Prabesh & Vanpée, Rosanne & De Moor, Lieven, 2016. "Pernicious effects: How the credit rating agencies disadvantage emerging markets," Research in International Business and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 286-298.
    3. Yu-Li Huang & Chung-Hua Shen, 2015. "The Sovereign Effect on Bank Credit Ratings," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer;Western Finance Association, vol. 47(3), pages 341-379, June.
    4. Cuadros-Solas, Pedro Jesús & Salvador Muñoz, Carlos, 2022. "Disentangling the sources of sovereign rating adjustments: An examination of changes in rating policies following the GFC," Research in International Business and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 59(C).
    5. P. Hammer & A. Kogan & M. Lejeune, 2011. "Reverse-engineering country risk ratings: a combinatorial non-recursive model," Annals of Operations Research, Springer, vol. 188(1), pages 185-213, August.
    6. De Moor, Lieven & Luitel, Prabesh & Sercu, Piet & Vanpée, Rosanne, 2018. "Subjectivity in sovereign credit ratings," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 366-392.
    7. Böninghausen, Benjamin & Zabel, Michael, 2013. "Credit Ratings and Cross-Border Bond Market Spillovers," MPRA Paper 47390, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Hu, Haoshen & Prokop, Jörg & Trautwein, Hans-Michael, 2022. "Transnational spillover effects of European sovereign rating signals on bank stock returns," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 171-182.
    9. Athari, Seyed Alireza & Kondoz, Mehmet & Kirikkaleli, Dervis, 2021. "Dependency between sovereign credit ratings and economic risk: Insight from Balkan countries," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 116(C).
    10. Salvador, Carlos & Pastor, Jose Manuel & Fernández de Guevara, Juan, 2014. "Impact of the subprime crisis on bank ratings: The effect of the hardening of rating policies and worsening of solvency," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 11(C), pages 13-31.
    11. Böninghausen, Benjamin & Zabel, Michael, 2013. "Credit Ratings and Cross-Border Bond Market Spillovers," Discussion Papers in Economics 21075, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    12. Sensoy, Ahmet & Eraslan, Veysel & Erturk, Mutahhar, 2016. "Do sovereign rating announcements have an impact on regional stock market co-movements? The case of Central and Eastern Europe," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 40(4), pages 552-567.
    13. Hantzsche, Arno, 2022. "Fiscal uncertainty and sovereign credit risk," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 148(C).
    14. Böninghausen, Benjamin & Zabel, Michael, 2015. "Credit ratings and cross-border bond market spillovers," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 115-136.
    15. Baum, Christopher F. & Schäfer, Dorothea & Stephan, Andreas, 2016. "Credit rating agency downgrades and the Eurozone sovereign debt crises," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 117-131.
    16. El-Shagi, Makram, 2016. "Much ado about nothing: Sovereign ratings and government bond yields in the OECD," IWH Discussion Papers 22/2016, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
    17. Huong Dang, 2014. "How dimensions of national culture and institutional characteristics influence sovereign rating migration dynamics," ZenTra Working Papers in Transnational Studies 42 / 2014, ZenTra - Center for Transnational Studies.
    18. Johannes W. Fedderke, 2013. "Promotion and Relegation between Country Risk Classes as Maintained by Country Risk Rating Agencies," Working Papers 376, Economic Research Southern Africa.
    19. Böninghausen, Benjamin & Zabel, Michael, 2015. "Credit ratings and cross-border bond market spillovers," Working Paper Series 1831, European Central Bank.
    20. Salvador, Carlos & Fernández de Guevara, Juan & Pastor, José Manuel, 2018. "The adjustment of bank ratings in the financial crisis: International evidence," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 289-313.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Credit rating agencies; NRSRO; Rating solicitation; Sovereign credit rating; Conflicts of interest; Self-selection bias;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • G24 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Investment Banking; Venture Capital; Brokerage

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:irlaec:v:47:y:2016:i:c:p:48-66. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Catherine Liu (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/irle .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.