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Crises and Rating Agencies

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  • Loerke, Petra
  • Niedermayer, Andreas

Abstract

We analyze a rating agency's incentives to distort ratings in a model with a monopolistic profit maximizing rating agency, a continuum of heterogeneous firms, and a competitive market of risk-neutral investors. Firms sell bonds, the value of a firm's bond is known to the firm and observable by the agency, but not by buyers. Firms can choose to get a rating. The rating agency can reveal a signal of arbitrary precision about the quality of the bond. In contrast to the existing literature, we allow aggregate uncertainty. As in the existing literature, one rating class is optimal. However, the rating agency does not choose a socially optimal cutoff: the agency is more likely to be too lenient if the distribution of aggregate uncertainty has a lower mean, a higher variance, and is more left skewed. It is more likely to be too strict if the opposite holds.

Suggested Citation

  • Loerke, Petra & Niedermayer, Andreas, 2015. "Crises and Rating Agencies," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 521, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:trf:wpaper:521
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    File URL: https://epub.ub.uni-muenchen.de/25312/1/521SFB.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Doherty, Neil A. & Kartasheva, Anastasia V. & Phillips, Richard D., 2012. "Information effect of entry into credit ratings market: The case of insurers' ratings," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 106(2), pages 308-330.
    2. Patrick Bolton & Xavier Freixas & Joel Shapiro, 2012. "The Credit Ratings Game," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 67(1), pages 85-112, February.
    3. Martin Pollrich & Lilo Wagner, 2013. "Informational Opacity and Honest Certification," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1291, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    4. Strausz, Roland, 2005. "Honest certification and the threat of capture," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 23(1-2), pages 45-62, February.
    5. 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.
    6. Beatriz Mariano, 2008. "Do Reputational Concerns Lead to Reliable Ratings?," FMG Discussion Papers dp613, Financial Markets Group.
    7. Bar-Isaac, Heski & Shapiro, Joel, 2013. "Ratings quality over the business cycle," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(1), pages 62-78.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Rating Agencies; Certification; Aggregate Uncertainty;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D42 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Monopoly
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • G20 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - General

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