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How Do Global Credit-Rating Agencies Rate Firms from Developing Countries?


  • Giovanni Ferri

    (Professor, Department of Economics University of Bari Via C. Rosalba, 53 70124 Bari Italy)

  • Li-Gang Liu

    (Assistant Professor of Public Policy School of Public Policy George Mason University 3401 North Fairfax Drive, MS 3B1 Arlington, VA 22201 USA)


This paper examines the information content of firm ratings. We disentangle the relative contribution to firms' ratings of sovereign risks and of the individual firms' performance indicators employed by rating agencies. We reach three conclusions. First, the contribution of sovereign risk to firm ratings is high in developing countries but is negligible in developed countries. Second, even after controlling for the "country ceiling effect" (i.e., the constraint put on the private firms' rating by the rating of the country in which the firms operate), the information content of ratings for firms in developing countries is much smaller than for firms in developed countries. Third, cross-country indicators of information quality help explain these discrepancies, but they do not entirely account for them. Copyright (c) 2004 The Earth Institute at Columbia University and the Massachusetts.

Suggested Citation

  • Giovanni Ferri & Li-Gang Liu, 2003. "How Do Global Credit-Rating Agencies Rate Firms from Developing Countries?," Asian Economic Papers, MIT Press, vol. 2(3), pages 30-56.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:asiaec:v:2:y:2003:i:3:p:30-56

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    4. Giovanni Ferri, 2004. "More analysts, better ratings: Do rating agencies invest enough in less developed countries?," Journal of Applied Economics, Universidad del CEMA, vol. 7, pages 77-98, May.
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    7. G. Ferri & L.-G. Liu & J. E. Stiglitz, 1999. "The Procyclical Role of Rating Agencies: Evidence from the East Asian Crisis," Economic Notes, Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA, vol. 28(3), pages 335-355, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Marwan Elkhoury, 2007. "Credit Rating Agencies And Their Potential Impact On Developing Countries," UNCTAD Discussion Papers 186, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
    2. Vincenzo D’Apice & Giovanni Ferri & Punziana Lacitignola, 2016. "Rating Performance and Bank Business Models: Is There a Change with the 2007–2009 Crisis?," Italian Economic Journal: A Continuation of Rivista Italiana degli Economisti and Giornale degli Economisti, Springer;Società Italiana degli Economisti (Italian Economic Association), vol. 2(3), pages 385-420, November.
    3. Marcus Noland, 2005. "Popular Attitudes, Globalization and Risk," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 8(2), pages 199-229, August.
    4. Giovanni Ferri & Punziana Lacuitignola, 2010. "Does Europe Need Its Own Rating Agencies?," SERIES 0033, Dipartimento di Economia e Finanza - Università degli Studi di Bari "Aldo Moro", revised Jul 2010.
    5. Guttler, Andre & Wahrenburg, Mark, 2007. "The adjustment of credit ratings in advance of defaults," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 751-767, March.
    6. José E. Gómez-González & Nicholas M. Kiefer., 2009. "Evidence of Non-Markovian Behavior in the Process of Bank Rating Migrations," Latin American Journal of Economics-formerly Cuadernos de Economía, Instituto de Economía. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile., vol. 46(133), pages 33-50.
    7. Kim, Yun Jung & Zhang, Jing, 2012. "Decentralized borrowing and centralized default," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(1), pages 121-133.
    8. Giovanni Ferri, 2004. "More analysts, better ratings: Do rating agencies invest enough in less developed countries?," Journal of Applied Economics, Universidad del CEMA, vol. 7, pages 77-98, May.
    9. Shen, Chung-Hua & Huang, Yu-Li & Hasan, Iftekhar, 2012. "Asymmetric benchmarking in bank credit rating," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 171-193.
    10. Mohapatra,Sanket & Nose,Manabu & Ratha,Dilip K., 2016. "Impacts of sovereign rating on sub-sovereign bond ratings in emerging and developing economies," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7618, The World Bank.
    11. Mila Freire & John Petersen & Marcela Huertas & Miguel Valadez, 2004. "Subnational Capital Markets in Developing Countries : From Theory to Practice," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 15044.
    12. Giovanni Ferri & Li-gang Liu, 2005. "Assessing the effort of rating agencies in emerging economies: Some empirical evidence," The European Journal of Finance, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(3), pages 283-295.
    13. Rosemarie Bröker Bone & Eduardo P Ribeiro, 2013. "Informational content of corporate ratings in a developing country: the case of Brazilian firms," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 33(1), pages 35-45.
    14. Ratha, Dilip & De, Prabal K. & Mohapatra, Sanket, 2011. "Shadow Sovereign Ratings for Unrated Developing Countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 295-307, March.

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