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Bonuses, Credit Rating Agencies and the Credit Crunch

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  • Peter Sinclair
  • Guy Spier
  • Tom Skinner

Abstract

The payment of bonuses can bring big benefits. But harm, too, can result. In the financial sector, this is especially true, above all when they are related to noisy indicators of performance over brief periods. This paper starts by exploring these ideas, then proceeds to examine credit rating agencies and their role in the 2007 credit crunch. It emphasizes the paucity of long term high frequency financial data to quantify tail event risks, the failure to apply analysis of fundamentals in financial and housing markets, and rewards structures to individual players that reinforced myopia as three key components of the crisis.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter Sinclair & Guy Spier & Tom Skinner, 2008. "Bonuses, Credit Rating Agencies and the Credit Crunch," Discussion Papers 08-05, Department of Economics, University of Birmingham.
  • Handle: RePEc:bir:birmec:08-05
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    File URL: ftp://ftp.bham.ac.uk/pub/RePEc/pdf/08-05.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2009. "Is the 2007 U.S. Sub-Prime Financial Crisis So Different? An International Historical Comparison," Panoeconomicus, Savez ekonomista Vojvodine, Novi Sad, Serbia, vol. 56(3), pages 291-299, September.
    2. George A. Akerlof, 1982. "Labor Contracts as Partial Gift Exchange," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 97(4), pages 543-569.
    3. Mahadeva,Lavan & Sinclair,Peter (ed.), 2002. "Monetary Transmission in Diverse Economies," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521813464, March.
    4. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-444, June.
    5. Weitzman, Martin L, 1985. "Profit Sharing as Macroeconomic Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(2), pages 41-45, May.
    6. Dixit, Avinash & Besley, Timothy, 1997. " James Mirrlees' Contributions to the Theory of Information and Incentives," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 99(2), pages 207-235, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    bonuses; credit crunch; credit rating agencies;

    JEL classification:

    • D53 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - Financial Markets
    • D86 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Economics of Contract Law
    • 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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