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Can Credit Rating Agencies Affect Election Outcomes?

Author

Listed:
  • Cunha, Igor
  • Ferreira, Miguel
  • Silva, Rui C

Abstract

We show that credit rating agency actions can have a significant effect on elections. We identify these effects by exploiting exogenous variation in municipal bond ratings due to Moody's recalibration of its scale in 2010. We find that incumbent politicians in upgraded municipalities experienced an increased likelihood of reelection and higher vote shares. Rating upgrades affect elections by improving voter perceptions of the quality of incumbents, and by producing wealth effects through voters' holdings of municipal bonds. We also establish a link between incumbents' reelection prospects and the improvements in economic conditions that are due to a debt-financed increase in government spending following rating upgrades.

Suggested Citation

  • Cunha, Igor & Ferreira, Miguel & Silva, Rui C, 2017. "Can Credit Rating Agencies Affect Election Outcomes?," CEPR Discussion Papers 12430, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:12430
    as

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Credit ratings; Economic Conditions; elections; Financial constraints; government spending; Municipal Bonds;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • G24 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Investment Banking; Venture Capital; Brokerage
    • H74 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Borrowing

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