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Credit Ratings Across Asset Classes: A Long-Term Perspective

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  • Jess N. Cornaggia
  • Kimberly J. Cornaggia
  • John E. Hund

Abstract

We test whether ratings are comparable across asset classes. We examine default rates by initial rating, accuracy ratios, migration metrics, instantaneous upgrade and downgrade intensities, and rating changes over bonds’ lives in multivariate regressions. These approaches reveal substantial and persistent differences across broad asset classes, as well as across subcategories of structured finance products. Our results are best explained by variation in rating agency incentives and variation in underlying risk profiles. We conclude that regulations requiring ratings to perform comparably across asset classes will prove difficult to enforce. We advocate instead a regulatory framework that better distinguishes risks and incentives across asset classes.

Suggested Citation

  • Jess N. Cornaggia & Kimberly J. Cornaggia & John E. Hund, 2017. "Credit Ratings Across Asset Classes: A Long-Term Perspective," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 21(2), pages 465-509.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:revfin:v:21:y:2017:i:2:p:465-509.
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/rof/rfx002
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Free Riding in Finance: A Primer
      by Steve Cecchetti and Kim Schoenholtz in Money, Banking and Financial Markets on 2017-12-18 18:59:37

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    3. Klusak, P. & Agarwala, M. & Burke, M. & Kraemer, M. & Mohaddes, K., 2021. "Rising Temperatures, Falling Ratings: The Effect of Climate Change on Sovereign Creditworthiness," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 2127, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
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    5. Baghai, Ramin P. & Becker, Bo & Pitschner, Stefan, 2018. "The Private Use of Credit Ratings: Evidence from Investment Mandates," CEPR Discussion Papers 13418, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Vu Tran & Rasha Alsakka & Owain ap Gwilym, 2018. "Multiple credit ratings and market heterogeneity," Working Papers 2018-26, Swansea University, School of Management.
    7. Attig, Najah & Driss, Hamdi & El Ghoul, Sadok, 2020. "Rating standards around the world: A puzzle?," Emerging Markets Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(C).
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    10. Figueroa, Nicolás & Leukhina, Oksana & Ramírez, Carlos, 2021. "Imperfect information transmission from banks to investors: Macroeconomic implications," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 87-98.
    11. Nickerson, Jordan & Griffin, John M., 2017. "Debt correlations in the wake of the financial crisis: What are appropriate default correlations for structured products?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 125(3), pages 454-474.
    12. Marques, Manuel O. & Pinto, João M., 2020. "A comparative analysis of ex ante credit spreads: Structured finance versus straight debt finance," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 62(C).
    13. Park, Gitae & Lee, Ho-Young, 2018. "Opportunistic behaviors of credit rating agencies and bond issuers," Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 39-59.
    14. Josephson, Jens & Shapiro, Joel, 2020. "Credit ratings and structured finance," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 41(C).
    15. Willie Dion Reddic, 0. "Under pressure: investment behaviour of insurers under different financial and regulatory conditions," The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance - Issues and Practice, Palgrave Macmillan;The Geneva Association, vol. 0, pages 1-20.
    16. Sugata Roychowdhury & Suraj Srinivasan, 2019. "The Role of Gatekeepers in Capital Markets," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(2), pages 295-322, May.
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    18. Klusak, Patrycja & Thornton, John & Uymaz, Yurtsev, 2020. "Do personal connections improve sovereign credit ratings?," Finance Research Letters, Elsevier, vol. 33(C).
    19. Ormazabal, Gaizka, 2018. "The Role of Stakeholders in Corporate Governance: A View from Accounting Research," CEPR Discussion Papers 12775, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    20. Kraemer, Moritz & Klusak, Patrycja & Vu, Huong, 2020. "First-mover disadvantage - The sovereign ratings mousetrap," CEPS Papers 26352, Centre for European Policy Studies.
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    22. Mathias Kronlund, 2020. "Do Bond Issuers Shop for Favorable Credit Ratings?," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 66(12), pages 5944-5968, December.
    23. Martijn Boermans & Bram van der Kroft, 2020. "Inflated credit ratings, regulatory arbitrage and capital requirements: Do investors strategically allocate bond portfolios?," DNB Working Papers 673, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
    24. Toscano, Francesca, 2020. "Does the Dodd-Frank Act reduce the conflict of interests of credit rating agencies?," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 62(C).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Credit ratings; Credit standard; Rating agency; Ratings comparability; Regulatory capital;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • 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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