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Credit Ratings as Coordination Mechanism

  • Boot, Arnoud W A
  • Milbourn, Todd

In this Paper, we provide a novel rationale for credit ratings. The rationale that we propose is that credit ratings can 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. We explore the vital – but previously overlooked – implicit contractual relationship between a credit rating agency and a firm. 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 ratings changes, the discreteness in funding cost changes, and the effect of the focus of organizations on the efficacy of credit ratings.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 3331.

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Date of creation: Apr 2002
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:3331
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  1. Gale, Douglas & Hellwig, Martin, 1985. "Incentive-Compatible Debt Contracts: The One-Period Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(4), pages 647-63, October.
  2. Mark Carey & Mark Hrycay, 2000. "Parameterizing credit risk models with rating data," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2000-47, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  3. Robert Townsend, 1979. "Optimal contracts and competitive markets with costly state verification," Staff Report 45, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  4. Marco Da Rin & Thomas Hellmann, 2001. "Banks as Catalysts for Industrialization," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 443, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  5. Hand, John R M & Holthausen, Robert W & Leftwich, Richard W, 1992. " The Effect of Bond Rating Agency Announcements on Bond and Stock Prices," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(2), pages 733-52, June.
  6. Stephen Morris, 1999. "Political Correctness," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1242, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  7. Diamond, Douglas W, 1984. "Financial Intermediation and Delegated Monitoring," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(3), pages 393-414, July.
  8. Ederington, Louis H. & Goh, Jeremy C., 1998. "Bond Rating Agencies and Stock Analysts: Who Knows What When?," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 33(04), pages 569-585, December.
  9. Doron Kliger & Oded Sarig, 2000. "The Information Value of Bond Ratings," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(6), pages 2879-2902, December.
  10. Louis H. Ederington & Jess B. Yawitz & Brian E. Roberts, 1984. "The Informational Content of Bond Ratings," NBER Working Papers 1323, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Harris, Milton & Raviv, Artur, 1998. "Capital budgeting and delegation," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 259-289, December.
  12. Allen, Franklin, 1990. "The market for information and the origin of financial intermediation," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 3-30, March.
  13. Diamond, Douglas W, 1991. "Monitoring and Reputation: The Choice between Bank Loans and Directly Placed Debt," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(4), pages 689-721, August.
  14. Gale, D., 1992. "Informational Capacity and Financal Collapse," Papers 38, Boston University - Industry Studies Programme.
  15. Spatt, Chester & Srivastava, Sanjay, 1991. "Preplay Communication, Participation Restrictions, and Efficiency in Initial Public Offerings," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 4(4), pages 709-26.
  16. Pamela Nickell & William Perraudin & Simone Varotto, 2001. "Ratings versus equity-based credit risk modelling: an empirical analysis," Bank of England working papers 132, Bank of England.
  17. Cantor, Richard & Packer, Frank, 1997. "Differences of opinion and selection bias in the credit rating industry," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 21(10), pages 1395-1417, October.
  18. Alessandro Lizzeri, 1999. "Information Revelation and Certification Intermediaries," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 30(2), pages 214-231, Summer.
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