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Credit Ratings as Coordination Mechanisms

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  • Arnoud W.A. Boot

    (University of Amsterdam)

  • Todd T. Milbourn

    (Washington University in St Louis)

Abstract

In this article, we provide a novel rationale for credit ratings. The rationale that we propose is that credit ratings 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, and explore the vital, but previously overlooked implicit contractual relationship between a credit rating agency (CRA) and a firm through its credit watch procedures. 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 rating changes. This discussion paper has resulted in a publication in The Review of Financial Studies , 2006, 19(1), 81-118.

Suggested Citation

  • Arnoud W.A. Boot & Todd T. Milbourn, 2002. "Credit Ratings as Coordination Mechanisms," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 02-058/2, Tinbergen Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:tin:wpaper:20020058
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G23 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Non-bank Financial Institutions; Financial Instruments; Institutional Investors
    • G24 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Investment Banking; Venture Capital; Brokerage
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill

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