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Modelling the U.S. sovereign credit rating

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  • Polito, Vito
  • Wickens, Michael R.

Abstract

A methodology for generating sovereign credit ratings based on macroeconomic theory is proposed. This is applied to quarterly U.S. data from 1970 to 2011. Over this period the official credit rating of U.S. Treasury securities has been of the highest quality. In contrast, the model-based measure finds that there are two clear instances in which the U.S. sovereign credit rating, if evaluated on the basis of economic fundamentals, should have been have been downgraded: the first oil crisis of the 1970s and in the aftermath of the Lehman collapse in 2008. This result is robust to several alternative views on the maximum borrowing capacity of the U.S. economy.

Suggested Citation

  • Polito, Vito & Wickens, Michael R., 2012. "Modelling the U.S. sovereign credit rating," CEPR Discussion Papers 9150, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9150
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    Cited by:

    1. Polito, Vito & Wickens, Michael, 2015. "Sovereign credit ratings in the European Union: A model-based fiscal analysis," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 220-247.
    2. Polito, Vito & Wickens, Michael, 2014. "How the Euro Crisis Evolved and how to Avoid Another: EMU, Fiscal Policy and Credit Ratings," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 39(PB), pages 364-374.
    3. Fabrice Collard & Michel Habib & Jean-Charles Rochet, 2015. "Sovereign Debt Sustainability In Advanced Economies," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 13(3), pages 381-420, June.
    4. Ferdinandusse, Marien & Checherita-Westphal, Cristina & Attinasi, Maria Grazia & Bańkowski, Krzysztof & Palaiodimos, Georgios & Trindade Campos, Maria Manuel, 2017. "Euro area fiscal stance," Occasional Paper Series 182, European Central Bank.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Credit risk; default probability; fiscal limits; Sovereign risk;

    JEL classification:

    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H30 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - General
    • H60 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - General

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