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Institutional Environment and Sovereign Credit Ratings

  • Alexander W. Butler
  • Larry Fauver

We use a sample of 86 counties to examine the cross-sectional determinants of sovereign credit ratings. We find that the quality of a country's legal and political institutions plays a vital role in determining these ratings. A one-standard-deviation increase in our legal environment index results in an average credit rating increase of 0.466 standard deviations, even when we control for obvious factors such as GDP per capita, inflation, foreign debt per GDP, previous defaults, and general development. Although part of this effect is due to the legal environment’s endogeneity, its relative importance is robust to endogeneity concerns.

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Article provided by Financial Management Association in its journal Financial Management.

Volume (Year): 35 (2006)
Issue (Month): 3 (Autumn)
Pages:

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Handle: RePEc:fma:fmanag:butlerfauver06
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  1. Richard Cantor & Frank Packer, 1996. "Determinants and impact of sovereign credit ratings," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Oct, pages 37-53.
  2. Rene M. Stulz & Rohan Williamson, 2001. "Culture, Openness, and Finance," NBER Working Papers 8222, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert Vishny, 1998. "The Quality of Goverment," NBER Working Papers 6727, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Jonathan Eaton & Raquel Fernandez, 1995. "Sovereign Debt," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development 59, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
  5. Beck, Thorsten & Demirguc-Kunt, Asli & Levine, Ross, 2003. "Law and finance: why does legal origin matter?," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 653-675, December.
  6. Andrei Shleifer & Daniel Wolfenson, 2000. "Investor Protection and Equity Markets," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1906, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  7. La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W., 1998. "Law and Finance," Scholarly Articles 3451310, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  8. Bekaert, Geert & Harvey, Campbell R. & Lundblad, Christian, 2005. "Does financial liberalization spur growth?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 3-55, July.
  9. Reinhart, Carmen & Rogoff, Kenneth, 2004. "Serial default and the “paradox” of rich to poor capital flows," MPRA Paper 13997, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  10. Reinhart, Carmen M. & Rogoff, Kenneth S., 2004. "Serial Default and the “Paradox†of Rich-to-Poor Capital Flows," Scholarly Articles 11129182, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  11. Easterly, W & Levine, R, 1996. "Africa's Growth Tragedy : Policies and Ethnic Divisions," Papers 536, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
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