IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/moneco/v56y2009i5p657-674.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Rating the raters: Are reputation concerns powerful enough to discipline rating agencies?

Author

Listed:
  • Mathis, Jérôme
  • McAndrews, James
  • Rochet, Jean-Charles

Abstract

Credit rating agencies (CRAs) are accused of bearing a strong responsibility for contributing to the subprime crisis by having been deliberately too lax in the ratings of some structured products. In response to this accusation, CRAs argue that such an attitude would be too dangerous for them, since their reputation is at stake. The objective of this article is to examine the validity of this argument within a formal model: Are reputation concerns sufficient to discipline rating agencies? We show that the reputation argument only works when a sufficiency large fraction of the CRA income comes from other sources than rating complex products. By contrast when rating complex products becomes a major source of income for the CRA, we show that it is always too lax with a positive probability and inflates ratings with probability one when its reputation is good enough. We provide some empirical support for this prediction, by showing that ceteris paribus, the proportion of subprime residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) that were rated AAA by the three main CRAs indeed increased over the last eight years. We analyze the policy implications of our findings and advocate for a new business model of CRAs that we call the platform-pays model.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:moneco:v:56:y:2009:i:5:p:657-674
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0304-3932(09)00060-9
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only
    ---><---

    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. Kreps, David M & Wilson, Robert, 1982. "Sequential Equilibria," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 863-894, July.
    2. Felton, Andrew & Reinhart, Carmen M. (ed.), 2009. "The First Global Financial Crisis of the 21st Century Part II: June–December, 2008," Vox eBooks, Centre for Economic Policy Research, number p199.
    3. Christoph Kuhner, 2001. "Financial Rating Agencies: Are They Credible? – Insights Into The Reporting Incentives Of Rating Agencies In Times Of Enhanced Systemic Risk," Schmalenbach Business Review (sbr), LMU Munich School of Management, vol. 53(1), pages 2-26, January.
    4. Antoine Faure‐Grimaud & Eloïc Peyrache & Lucía Quesada, 2009. "The ownership of ratings," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 40(2), pages 234-257, June.
    5. Stephen Morris, 2001. "Political Correctness," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(2), pages 231-265, April.
    6. Roland Benabou & Guy Laroque, 1992. "Using Privileged Information to Manipulate Markets: Insiders, Gurus, and Credibility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(3), pages 921-958.
    7. Patrick Bolton & Xavier Freixas & Joel Shapiro, 2012. "The Credit Ratings Game," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 67(1), pages 85-112, February.
    8. Perotti, Enrico C. & Suarez, Javier, 2002. "Last bank standing: What do I gain if you fail?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(9), pages 1599-1622, October.
    9. Arnoud W. A. Boot & Todd T. Milbourn & Anjolein Schmeits, 2006. "Credit Ratings as Coordination Mechanisms," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 19(1), pages 81-118.
    10. Carlson Mark & Hale Galina B, 2006. "Rating Agencies and Sovereign Debt Rollover," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 6(2), pages 1-32, September.
    11. Charles Goodhart, 2008. "The Regulatory Response to the Financial Crisis," FMG Special Papers sp177, Financial Markets Group.
    12. Alessandro Lizzeri, 1999. "Information Revelation and Certification Intermediaries," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 30(2), pages 214-231, Summer.
    13. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1982. "Predation, reputation, and entry deterrence," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 280-312, August.
    14. Diamond, Douglas W, 1989. "Reputation Acquisition in Debt Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(4), pages 828-862, August.
    15. Stolper, Anno, 2009. "Regulation of credit rating agencies," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 33(7), pages 1266-1273, July.
    16. Joel Sobel, 1985. "A Theory of Credibility," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 52(4), pages 557-573.
    17. Mailath, George J. & Samuelson, Larry, 2006. "Repeated Games and Reputations: Long-Run Relationships," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195300796.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    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. Mariano, Beatriz, 2012. "Market power and reputational concerns in the ratings industry," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 36(6), pages 1616-1626.
    2. Bruno Jullien & In-Uck Park, 2009. "Seller Reputation and Trust in Pre-Trade Communication," Levine's Working Paper Archive 814577000000000330, David K. Levine.
    3. Matthieu Bouvard & Raphaël Levy, 2018. "Two-Sided Reputation in Certification Markets," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 64(10), pages 4755-4774, October.
    4. Doherty, Neil A. & Kartasheva, Anastasia V. & Phillips, Richard D., 2012. "Information effect of entry into credit ratings market: The case of insurers' ratings," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 106(2), pages 308-330.
    5. Jeon, Doh-Shin & Lovo, Stefano, 2013. "Credit rating industry: A helicopter tour of stylized facts and recent theories," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 643-651.
    6. Patrick Bolton & Xavier Freixas & Joel Shapiro, 2012. "The Credit Ratings Game," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 67(1), pages 85-112, February.
    7. Li, Ming & Tymofiy Mylovanov, 2009. "Credibility for Sale: the Effect of Disclosure on Information Acquisition and Transmission," Working Papers 09008, Concordia University, Department of Economics, revised Oct 2009.
    8. Miriam Schütte & Philipp Christoph Wichardt, 2013. "Delegation and Interim Performance Evaluation," CESifo Working Paper Series 4193, CESifo.
    9. Bar-Isaac, Heski & Shapiro, Joel, 2013. "Ratings quality over the business cycle," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(1), pages 62-78.
    10. Ozerturk, Saltuk, 2014. "Ratings as regulatory stamps," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 17-29.
    11. Becker, Bo & Milbourn, Todd, 2011. "How did increased competition affect credit ratings?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 101(3), pages 493-514, September.
    12. Xiaojing Meng, 2015. "Analyst Reputation, Communication, and Information Acquisition," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(1), pages 119-173, March.
    13. Michael R. King & Steven Ongena & Nikola Tarashev, 2020. "Bank Standalone Credit Ratings," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 16(4), pages 101-144, September.
    14. Elisabeth Schulte & Mike Felgenhauer, 2017. "Preselection and expert advice," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer;Game Theory Society, vol. 46(3), pages 693-714, August.
    15. Olszewski, Wojciech, 2004. "Informal communication," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 117(2), pages 180-200, August.
    16. Goel, Anand M. & Thakor, Anjan V., 2015. "Information reliability and welfare: A theory of coarse credit ratings," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 115(3), pages 541-557.
    17. Fischer, Thomas, 2015. "Market structure and rating strategies in credit rating markets – A dynamic model with matching of heterogeneous bond issuers and rating agencies," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 39-56.
    18. Ponce, Jorge, 2012. "The quality of credit ratings: A two-sided market perspective," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 294-306.
    19. Chen, Ying, 2011. "Perturbed communication games with honest senders and naive receivers," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 146(2), pages 401-424, March.
    20. Marta Allegra Ronchetti, 2018. "Preliminary credit ratings and contact disclosure," Discussion Papers 2018/02, University of Nottingham, Centre for Finance, Credit and Macroeconomics (CFCM).

    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:moneco:v:56:y:2009:i:5:p:657-674. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505566 .

    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/inca/505566 .

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

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.