IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/cpr/ceprdp/9171.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Bank ratings: What determines their quality?

Author

Listed:
  • Hau, Harald
  • Langfield, Sam
  • Marqués Ibañez, David

Abstract

This paper examines the quality of credit ratings assigned to banks in Europe and the United States by the three largest rating agencies over the past two decades. We interpret credit ratings as relative assessments of creditworthiness, and define a new ordinal metric of rating error based on banks’ expected default frequencies. Our results suggest that rating agencies assign more positive ratings to large banks and to those institutions more likely to provide the rating agency with additional securities rating business (as indicated by private structured credit origination activity). These competitive distortions are economically significant and help perpetuate the existence of ‘too-big-to-fail’ banks. We also show that, overall, differential risk weights recommended by the Basel accords for investment grade banks bear no significant relationship to empirical default probabilities.

Suggested Citation

  • Hau, Harald & Langfield, Sam & Marqués Ibañez, David, 2012. "Bank ratings: What determines their quality?," CEPR Discussion Papers 9171, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9171
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=9171
    Download Restriction: CEPR Discussion Papers are free to download for our researchers, subscribers and members. If you fall into one of these categories but have trouble downloading our papers, please contact us at subscribers@cepr.org

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Jie He & Jun Qian & Philip E. Strahan, 2011. "Credit Ratings and the Evolution of the Mortgage-Backed Securities Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(3), pages 131-135, May.
    2. Bertay, Ata Can & Demirgüç-Kunt, Asli & Huizinga, Harry, 2013. "Do we need big banks? Evidence on performance, strategy and market discipline," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 532-558.
    3. Berger, Allen N. & Bouwman, Christa H.S., 2013. "How does capital affect bank performance during financial crises?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 109(1), pages 146-176.
    4. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2009. "The Aftermath of Financial Crises," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 466-472, May.
    5. Manganelli, Simone & Altunbas, Yener & Marqués-Ibáñez, David, 2011. "Bank risk during the financial crisis: do business models matter?," Working Paper Series 1394, European Central Bank.
    6. Luc Laeven & Harry Huizinga, 2009. "Accounting discretion of banks during a financial crisis," IMF Working Papers 09/207, International Monetary Fund.
    7. Bar-Isaac, Heski & Shapiro, Joel, 2013. "Ratings quality over the business cycle," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(1), pages 62-78.
    8. Rebel Cole & Lawrence White, 2012. "Déjà Vu All Over Again: The Causes of U.S. Commercial Bank Failures This Time Around," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer;Western Finance Association, vol. 42(1), pages 5-29, October.
    9. Skreta, Vasiliki & Veldkamp, Laura, 2009. "Ratings shopping and asset complexity: A theory of ratings inflation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(5), pages 678-695, July.
    10. Patrick Bolton & Xavier Freixas & Joel Shapiro, 2012. "The Credit Ratings Game," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 67(1), pages 85-112, February.
    11. Heski Bar-Isaac & Joel Shapiro, 2011. "Credit Ratings Accuracy and Analyst Incentives," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(3), pages 120-124, May.
    12. Marco Pagano & Paolo Volpin, 2010. "Credit ratings failures and policy options," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 25, pages 401-431, April.
    13. Mariathasan, Mike & Merrouche, Ouarda, 2014. "The manipulation of basel risk-weights," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 300-321.
    14. Jens Hilscher & Mungo Wilson, 2011. "Credit ratings and credit risk," Working Papers 31, Brandeis University, Department of Economics and International Businesss School.
    15. Merton, Robert C, 1974. "On the Pricing of Corporate Debt: The Risk Structure of Interest Rates," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 29(2), pages 449-470, May.
    16. Wade Cook & Moshe Kress & Lawrence Seiford, 1986. "Information and preference in partial orders: A bimatrix representation," Psychometrika, Springer;The Psychometric Society, vol. 51(2), pages 197-207, June.
    17. Matthias Efing, "undated". "Bank Capital Regulation with an Opportunistic Rating Agency," Swiss Finance Institute Research Paper Series 12-19, Swiss Finance Institute.
    18. Campello, Murillo & Graham, John R. & Harvey, Campbell R., 2010. "The real effects of financial constraints: Evidence from a financial crisis," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(3), pages 470-487, September.
    19. Lorenzo Garlappi & Raman Uppal & Tan Wang, 2007. "Portfolio Selection with Parameter and Model Uncertainty: A Multi-Prior Approach," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 20(1), pages 41-81, January.
    20. Mathis, Jérôme & McAndrews, James & Rochet, Jean-Charles, 2009. "Rating the raters: Are reputation concerns powerful enough to discipline rating agencies?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(5), pages 657-674, July.
    21. Becker, Bo & Milbourn, Todd, 2011. "How did increased competition affect credit ratings?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 101(3), pages 493-514, September.
    22. Efraim Benmelech & Jennifer Dlugosz, 2010. "The Credit Rating Crisis," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2009, Volume 24, pages 161-207 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    23. Frank Packer & Nikola Tarashev, 2011. "Rating methodologies for banks," BIS Quarterly Review, Bank for International Settlements, June.
    24. Lawrence J. White, 2010. "Markets: The Credit Rating Agencies," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 24(2), pages 211-226, Spring.
    25. Lily Fang & Ayako Yasuda, 2009. "The Effectiveness of Reputation as a Disciplinary Mechanism in Sell-Side Research," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 22(9), pages 3735-3777, September.
    26. Paolo Fulghieri & Günter Strobl & Han Xia, 2014. "The Economics of Solicited and Unsolicited Credit Ratings," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 27(2), pages 484-518.
    27. Crouhy, Michel & Galai, Dan & Mark, Robert, 2000. "A comparative analysis of current credit risk models," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 24(1-2), pages 59-117, January.
    28. Sreedhar T. Bharath & Tyler Shumway, 2008. "Forecasting Default with the Merton Distance to Default Model," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 21(3), pages 1339-1369, May.
    29. Donald P. Morgan, 2002. "Rating Banks: Risk and Uncertainty in an Opaque Industry," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 874-888, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    conflicts of interest; credit ratings; prudential regulation; rating agencies; sovereign risk;

    JEL classification:

    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G23 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Non-bank Financial Institutions; Financial Instruments; Institutional Investors
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9171. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.