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Fear of Rejection? Tiered Certification and Transparency

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  • Emmanuel Farhi
  • Josh Lerner
  • Jean Tirole

Abstract

The sub-prime crisis has shown a harsh spotlight on the practices of securities underwriters, which provided too many complex securities that proved to ultimately have little value. This uproar calls attention to the fact that the literature on intermediaries has carefully analyzed their incentives, but that we know little about the broader strategic dimensions of this market. The paper explores three related strategic dimensions of the certification market: the publicity given to applications, the coarseness of rating patterns and the sellers' dynamic certification strategies. In the model, certifiers respond to the sellers' desire to get a chance to be highly rated and to limit the stigma from rejection. We find conditions under which sellers opt for an ambitious certification strategy, in which they apply to a demanding, but non-transparent certifier and lower their ambitions when rejected. We derive the comparative statics with respect to the sellers' initial reputation, the probability of fortuitous disclosure, the sellers' self-knowledge and impatience, and the concentration of the certification industry. We also analyze the possibility that certifiers opt for a quick turnaround time at the expense of a lower accuracy. Finally, we investigate the opportunity of regulating transparency.

Suggested Citation

  • Emmanuel Farhi & Josh Lerner & Jean Tirole, 2008. "Fear of Rejection? Tiered Certification and Transparency," NBER Working Papers 14457, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14457
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Antoine Faure-Grimaud & Eloïc Peyrache & Lucía Quesada, 2009. "The ownership of ratings," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 40(2), pages 234-257.
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    Cited by:

    1. Barbos, Andrei, 2013. "Project screening with tiered evaluation," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 66(3), pages 293-306.
    2. Mingfeng Lin & Paulo Goes, 2012. "The Appeal of Third-party Certifications: Information Unraveling in Natural Experiments," Working Papers 12-02, NET Institute.
    3. Patrick Bolton & Xavier Freixas & Joel Shapiro, 2012. "The Credit Ratings Game," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 67(1), pages 85-112, February.
    4. Jeon, Doh-Shin & Lovo, Stefano, 2011. "Reputation as an Entry Barrier in the Credit Rating Industry," IDEI Working Papers 675, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse, revised 25 May 2012.
    5. Pollrich, Martin & Wagner, Lilo, 2016. "Imprecise information disclosure and truthful certification," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 345-360.
    6. Marco Pagano & Paolo Volpin, 2012. "Securitization, Transparency, and Liquidity," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 25(8), pages 2417-2453.
    7. repec:bla:jindec:v:65:y:2017:i:2:p:309-335 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Ying Yi Tsai & Li-Gang Liu, 2010. "Emergence of Rating Agencies : Implications for Establishing a Regional Rating Agency in Asia," Finance Working Papers 22824, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
    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. Zheng, Yuqing & Bar, Talia, 2017. "Audit Grades in Food Safety Certification," 2017 Annual Meeting, February 4-7, 2017, Mobile, Alabama 252714, Southern Agricultural Economics Association.
    11. Fabozzi, Frank J. & Nawas, Mike E. & Vink, Dennis, 2017. "Exploring rating shopping for european triple a senior structured finance securities," Finance Research Letters, Elsevier, vol. 20(C), pages 35-39.
    12. repec:eee:gamebe:v:104:y:2017:i:c:p:632-655 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Saak, Alexander E., 2016. "Delegation of quality control in value chains:," IFPRI discussion papers 1526, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    14. Talia Bar & Yuqing Zheng, 2016. "Leniency and Loyalty in the Choice of Certifiers: Evidence from the BRC Food Safety Standard," Working papers 2016-22, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
    15. Saak, Alexander E., 2016. "The Value of Delegated Quality Control and Market Size with an Application to Kyrgyzstan Dairy," 2016 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, 2016, Boston, Massachusetts 235707, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    16. Ying Yi Tsai & Li-Gang Liu, 2010. "Emergence of Rating Agencies: Implications for Establishing a Regional Rating Agency in Asia," Working Papers id:2927, eSocialSciences.
    17. Bar, Talia & Zheng, Yuqing, 2015. "Strategic Selection of Certifiers: Evidence from the BRC Food Safety Standard," 2015 AAEA & WAEA Joint Annual Meeting, July 26-28, San Francisco, California 205570, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association;Western Agricultural Economics Association.
    18. Mihaela Schaar & Simpson Zhang, 2015. "A dynamic model of certification and reputation," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 58(3), pages 509-541, April.
    19. Michael R King & Steven Ongena & Nikola Tarashev, 2016. "Bank standalone credit ratings," BIS Working Papers 542, Bank for International Settlements.
    20. David Dranove & Ginger Zhe Jin, 2010. "Quality Disclosure and Certification: Theory and Practice," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 48(4), pages 935-963, December.
    21. Vidya Atal & Talia Bar, 2014. "Patent Quality and a Two-Tiered Patent System," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(3), pages 503-540, September.
    22. Rick Harbaugh & Eric Rasmusen, 2012. "Coarse Grades: Informing the Public by Withholding Information," Working Papers 2012-06, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.
    23. repec:eee:ecolet:v:163:y:2018:i:c:p:72-74 is not listed on IDEAS
    24. Gehrig, Thomas & Stenbacka, Rune, 2017. "Journal Competition and the Quality of Published Research: Simultaneous versus Sequential Screening," CEPR Discussion Papers 12065, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    25. Raphie Hayat & Frank Butter & Udo Kock, 2013. "Halal Certification for Financial Products: A Transaction Cost Perspective," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 117(3), pages 601-613, October.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O34 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Intellectual Property and Intellectual Capital

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