IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Split ratings and the pricing of credit risk


  • Richard Cantor
  • Frank Packer
  • Kevin Cole


Despite the fact that over 50 percent of all corporate bonds have different ratings from Moody's and Standard and Poor's at issuance, most bond pricing models ignore these differences of opinion. Our work compares a number of different methods of accounting for split ratings in estimating bond pricing models. We find that pricing rules that use only the Moody's or Standard and Poor's ratings produce unbiased but highly inefficient forecasts. If models rely instead on simply the higher or lower of the two ratings (but not both), greater bias is introduced with insignificant gains in efficiency. In general, the average rating is the best guide to predicting yields in terms of both bias and forecast prediction. However, the forecasting advantage from using the average rating rather than the lower rating derives almost entirely from the below-investment-grade subsample.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard Cantor & Frank Packer & Kevin Cole, 1997. "Split ratings and the pricing of credit risk," Research Paper 9711, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fednrp:9711

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Leland Crabbe, 1991. "Callable corporate bonds: a vanishing breed," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 155, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    2. Allen, David S & Lamy, Robert E & Thompson, G Rodney, 1990. " The Shelf Registration of Debt and Self Selection Bias," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 45(1), pages 275-287, March.
    3. Diebold, Francis X & Mariano, Roberto S, 2002. "Comparing Predictive Accuracy," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(1), pages 134-144, January.
    4. Lamy, Robert E. & Thompson, G. Rodney, 1988. "Risk premia and the pricing of primary issue bonds," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 12(4), pages 585-601, December.
    5. White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-838, May.
    6. Thompson, G Rodney & Vaz, Peter, 1990. "Dual Bond Ratings: A Test of the Certification Function of Rating Agencies," The Financial Review, Eastern Finance Association, vol. 25(3), pages 457-471, August.
    7. Crabbe, Leland, 1991. " Event Risk: An Analysis of Losses to Bondholders and "Super Poison Put" Bond Covenants," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 46(2), pages 689-706, June.
    8. Fabozzi, Frank J. & West, Richard R., 1981. "Negotiated versus Competitive Underwritings of Public Utility Bonds: Just One More Time," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 16(03), pages 323-339, September.
    9. Liu, Pu & Moore, William T, 1987. "The Impact of Split Bond Ratings on Risk Premia," The Financial Review, Eastern Finance Association, vol. 22(1), pages 71-85, February.
    10. Ma, Christopher K & Rao, Ramesh P & Peterson, Richard L, 1989. " The Resiliency of the High-Yield Bond Market: The LTV Default," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 44(4), pages 1085-1097, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Credit ; Bonds ; Risk;


    Access and download statistics


    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:fip:fednrp:9711. 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: (Amy Farber). 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.