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Credit Ratings as Coordination Mechanisms

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Listed:
  • Arnoud W. A. Boot
  • Todd T. Milbourn
  • Anjolein Schmeits

Abstract

In this article, we provide a novel rationale for credit ratings. The rationale that we propose is that credit ratings serve as a coordinating mechanism in situations where multiple equilibria can obtain. We show that credit ratings provide a "focal point" for firms and their investors, and explore the vital, but previously overlooked implicit contractual relationship between a credit rating agency (CRA) and a firm through its credit watch procedures. Credit ratings can help fix the desired equilibrium and as such play an economically meaningful role. Our model provides several empirical predictions and insights regarding the expected price impact of rating changes. Copyright 2006, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:rfinst:v:19:y:2006:i:1:p:81-118
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/rfs/hhj009
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    JEL classification:

    • G23 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Non-bank Financial Institutions; Financial Instruments; Institutional Investors
    • G24 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Investment Banking; Venture Capital; Brokerage
    • 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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