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PIGS or Lambs? The European Sovereign Debt Crisis and the Role of Rating Agencies

  • Gärtner, Manfred

    ()

  • Griesbach, Bjoern

    ()

  • Jung, Florian

    ()

This paper asks whether rating agencies played a passive role or were an active driving force during Europe's sovereign debt crisis. We address this by estimating relationships between sovereign debt ratings and macroeconomic and structural variables. We then use these equ-ations to decompose actual ratings into systematic and arbitrary components that are not explained by observed previous procedures of rating agencies. Next, we check whether both systematic and arbitrary parts of credit ratings affect credit spreads. We find that both do, which opens the possibility that arbitrary rating downgrades trigger processes of self-fulfilling prophecy that may drive even relatively healthy countries towards default.

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File URL: http://www1.vwa.unisg.ch/RePEc/usg/econwp/EWP-1106.pdf
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Paper provided by University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science in its series Economics Working Paper Series with number 1106.

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Length: 22 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:usg:econwp:2011:06
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  1. Antonio Afonso & Pedro Gomes & Philipp Rother, 2009. "Ordered response models for sovereign debt ratings," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(8), pages 769-773.
  2. Simone Manganelli & Guido Wolswijk, 2009. "What drives spreads in the euro area government bond market?," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 24, pages 191-240, 04.
  3. Hu, Yen-Ting & Kiesel, Rudiger & Perraudin, William, 2002. "The estimation of transition matrices for sovereign credit ratings," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 26(7), pages 1383-1406, July.
  4. Richard Cantor & Frank Packer, 1996. "Determinants and impact of sovereign credit ratings," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Oct, pages 37-53.
  5. António Afonso & Pedro Gomes & Philipp Rother, 2006. "What “Hides” Behind Sovereign Debt Ratings?," Working Papers Department of Economics 2006/35, ISEG - School of Economics and Management, Department of Economics, University of Lisbon.
  6. James Crotty, 2008. "Structural Causes of the Global Financial Crisis: A Critical Assessment of the ‘New Financial Architecture’," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2008-14, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
  7. Constantin Mellios & Eric Paget-Blanc, 2006. "Which factors determine sovereign credit ratings?," The European Journal of Finance, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(4), pages 361-377.
  8. Helmut Reisen & Julia von Maltzan, 1999. "Boom and Bust and Sovereign Ratings," OECD Development Centre Working Papers 148, OECD Publishing.
  9. Eaton, Jonathan & Gersovitz, Mark & Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1986. "The pure theory of country risk," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 481-513, June.
    • Jonathan Eaton & Mark Gersovitz & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1991. "The Pure Theory of Country Risk," NBER Chapters, in: International Volatility and Economic Growth: The First Ten Years of The International Seminar on Macroeconomics, pages 391-435 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Gomez-Puig, Marta, 2006. "Size matters for liquidity: Evidence from EMU sovereign yield spreads," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 90(2), pages 156-162, February.
  11. Barry Eichengreen & Ashoka Mody, 2000. "What Explains Changing Spreads on Emerging Market Debt?," NBER Chapters, in: Capital Flows and the Emerging Economies: Theory, Evidence, and Controversies, pages 107-134 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Makram El-Shagi, 2010. "The role of rating agencies in financial crises: event studies from the Asian flu," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 34(4), pages 671-685.
  13. G. Ferri & L.-G. Liu & J. E. Stiglitz, 1999. "The Procyclical Role of Rating Agencies: Evidence from the East Asian Crisis," Economic Notes, Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA, vol. 28(3), pages 335-355, November.
  14. Sebastian Edwards, 2000. "Capital Flows and the Emerging Economies: Theory, Evidence, and Controversies," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number edwa00-1, May.
  15. Edda Zoli & Silvia Sgherri, 2009. "Euro Area Sovereign Risk During the Crisis," IMF Working Papers 09/222, International Monetary Fund.
  16. Becker, William E. & Kennedy, Peter E., 1992. "A Graphical Exposition of the Ordered Probit," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 8(01), pages 127-131, March.
  17. Block, Steven A. & Vaaler, Paul M., 2004. "The price of democracy: sovereign risk ratings, bond spreads and political business cycles in developing countries," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 23(6), pages 917-946, October.
  18. Roberto Perrelli & Christian B. Mulder, 2001. "Foreign Currency Credit Ratings for Emerging Market Economies," IMF Working Papers 01/191, International Monetary Fund.
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