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Revolving doors on Wall Street

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  • Cornaggia, Jess
  • Cornaggia, Kimberly J.
  • Xia, Han

Abstract

Credit analysts often leave rating agencies to work at firms they rate. We use benchmark rating agencies as counterfactuals to measure rating inflation in a difference-in-differences framework and find that transitioning analysts award inflated ratings to their future employers before switching jobs. We find no evidence that analysts inflate ratings of other firms they rate. Market based measures of hiring firms' credit quality further indicate that transitioning analysts' inflated ratings become less informative. We conclude that conflicts of interest at the analyst level distort credit ratings. More broadly, our results shed light on the economic consequences of revolving doors.

Suggested Citation

  • Cornaggia, Jess & Cornaggia, Kimberly J. & Xia, Han, 2016. "Revolving doors on Wall Street," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(2), pages 400-419.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jfinec:v:120:y:2016:i:2:p:400-419
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jfineco.2016.01.007
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Credit ratings; NRSRO; Regulatory capture; Revolving door; Credit analysts;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • 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
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill

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