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Impact of the Dodd-Frank act on credit ratings

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  • Dimitrov, Valentin
  • Palia, Darius
  • Tang, Leo

Abstract

We analyze the impact of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank) on corporate bond ratings issued by credit rating agencies (CRAs). We find no evidence that Dodd-Frank disciplines CRAs to provide more accurate and informative credit ratings. Instead, following Dodd-Frank, CRAs issue lower ratings, give more false warnings, and issue downgrades that are less informative. These results are consistent with the reputation model of Morris (2001), and suggest that CRAs become more protective of their reputation following the passage of Dodd-Frank. Consistent with Morris (2001), we find that our results are stronger for industries with low Fitch market share, where Moody׳s and Standard & Poor׳s have stronger incentives to protect their reputation (Becker and Milbourn, 2011). Our results are not driven by business cycle effects or firm characteristics, and strengthen as the uncertainty regarding the passage of Dodd-Frank gets resolved. We conclude that increasing the legal and regulatory costs to CRAs might have an adverse effect on the quality of credit ratings.

Suggested Citation

  • Dimitrov, Valentin & Palia, Darius & Tang, Leo, 2015. "Impact of the Dodd-Frank act on credit ratings," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 115(3), pages 505-520.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jfinec:v:115:y:2015:i:3:p:505-520
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jfineco.2014.10.012
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Dodd-Frank; Reputation; Credit ratings; Information; Financial crisis;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises
    • G14 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Information and Market Efficiency; Event Studies; Insider Trading
    • G24 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Investment Banking; Venture Capital; Brokerage
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation

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