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Rating Government Bonds: Can We Raise Our Grade?

Author

Listed:
  • Marc D. Joffe

Abstract

Yields on sovereign and municipal bonds are largely determined by perceptions of default risk. The traditional providers of default risk assessments are the credit rating agencies, which have of late suffered damaged reputations. The author, a former Senior Director at Moody’s Analytics, argues that rating agency assessments of government bonds suffer from a failure to use modern social science research methods. He contends that economists and other academics are better suited to the task of estimating the likelihood of government bond defaults. Economists can provide an alternative source of analysis by collecting and analyzing time series of fiscal data and building simulations of future revenues and expenditures. To encourage more academics to enter this field, the author is contributing historical data and an open-source simulation platform.

Suggested Citation

  • Marc D. Joffe, 2012. "Rating Government Bonds: Can We Raise Our Grade?," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 9(3), pages 350-365, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:ejw:journl:v:9:y:2012:i:3:p:350-365
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2014. "This Time is Different: A Panoramic View of Eight Centuries of Financial Crises," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 15(2), pages 1065-1188, November.
    2. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2009. "Varieties of Crises and Their Dates," Introductory Chapters,in: This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly Princeton University Press.
    3. Burton G. Malkiel, 2003. "The Efficient Market Hypothesis and Its Critics," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(1), pages 59-82, Winter.
    4. Burton G. Malkiel, 2003. "The Efficient Market Hypothesis and Its Critics," Working Papers 111, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies..
    5. Keim, Donald B. & Stambaugh, Robert F., 1986. "Predicting returns in the stock and bond markets," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 357-390, December.
    6. repec:pri:cepsud:91malkiel is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Francis A. Longstaff & Jun Pan & Lasse H. Pedersen & Kenneth J. Singleton, 2011. "How Sovereign Is Sovereign Credit Risk?," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(2), pages 75-103, April.
    8. Jens Hilscher & Yves Nosbusch, 2010. "Determinants of Sovereign Risk: Macroeconomic Fundamentals and the Pricing of Sovereign Debt," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 14(2), pages 235-262.
    9. Eli M Remolona & Michela Scatigna & Eliza Wu, 2007. "Interpreting sovereign spreads," BIS Quarterly Review, Bank for International Settlements, March.
    10. Fama, Eugene F, 1970. "Efficient Capital Markets: A Review of Theory and Empirical Work," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 25(2), pages 383-417, May.
    11. Lawrence E. Harris & Michael S. Piwowar, 2006. "Secondary Trading Costs in the Municipal Bond Market," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 61(3), pages 1361-1397, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Sovereign; municipal; debt; bonds; credit ratings;

    JEL classification:

    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • H60 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - General
    • H63 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt
    • H68 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Forecasts of Budgets, Deficits, and Debt

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