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Competition in the credit rating Industry: Benefits for investors and issuers


  • Morkoetter, Stefan
  • Stebler, Roman
  • Westerfeld, Simone


We empirically investigate the benefits of multiple ratings not only at issuance of debt instruments but also during the subsequent monitoring phase. Using a record of monthly credit rating migration data on all U.S. residential mortgage-backed securities rated by Standard & Poor's, Moody's, and Fitch between 1985 and 2012 (154,600 tranches), our results provide empirical evidence that rating agencies put more effort in rating and outlook revisions when tranches have assigned multiple ratings. Furthermore, we see that in the case of multiple ratings, agencies do a better job in discriminating tranches with respect to default risk. On the downside, we observe a shift in collateral towards senior tranches and incentives for issuers to engage in rating shopping activities, but find no evidence that rating agencies exploit such behavior to attract more rating business. Our results contribute to the literature on information production of credit ratings and extend the perspective to the monitoring period after issuance.

Suggested Citation

  • Morkoetter, Stefan & Stebler, Roman & Westerfeld, Simone, 2017. "Competition in the credit rating Industry: Benefits for investors and issuers," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 235-257.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jbfina:v:75:y:2017:i:c:p:235-257
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jbankfin.2016.09.001

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Patrick Bolton & Xavier Freixas & Joel Shapiro, 2012. "The Credit Ratings Game," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 67(1), pages 85-112, February.
    2. Efing, Matthias & Hau, Harald, 2015. "Structured debt ratings: Evidence on conflicts of interest," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 116(1), pages 46-60.
    3. Dion Bongaerts & K. J. Martijn Cremers & William N. Goetzmann, 2012. "Tiebreaker: Certification and Multiple Credit Ratings," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 67(1), pages 113-152, February.
    4. Walter Krämer & André Güttler, 2008. "On comparing the accuracy of default predictions in the rating industry," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 34(2), pages 343-356, March.
    5. Skreta, Vasiliki & Veldkamp, Laura, 2009. "Ratings shopping and asset complexity: A theory of ratings inflation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(5), pages 678-695, July.
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    8. Stefano Lugo & Annalisa Croce & Robert Faff, 2015. "Herding Behavior and Rating Convergence among Credit Rating Agencies: Evidence from the Subprime Crisis," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 19(4), pages 1703-1731.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kilian R. Dinkelaker & Andreas-Walter Mattig & Stefan Morkoetter, 2019. "A Closer Look at Credt Rating Processes: Uncovering the Impact of Analyst Rotation," Working Papers on Finance 1911, University of St. Gallen, School of Finance.
    2. Drago, Danilo & Gallo, Raffaele, 2018. "Do multiple credit ratings affect syndicated loan spreads?," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 1-16.
    3. Wei Tian & Xiangyun Zhou & Yixiang Tian & Wei Meng, 2020. "Short-term competition and long-term convergence between domestic and global rating agencies: Evidence from China," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 15(5), pages 1-15, May.
    4. Doumpos, Michalis & Figueira, José Rui, 2019. "A multicriteria outranking approach for modeling corporate credit ratings: An application of the Electre Tri-nC method," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 166-180.

    More about this item


    Multiple ratings; Information production; Structured finance; Rating agencies; Residential mortgage-backed securities; Rating shopping;

    JEL classification:

    • G14 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Information and Market Efficiency; Event Studies; Insider Trading
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G24 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Investment Banking; Venture Capital; Brokerage


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