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How do self-fulfilling prophecies affect financial ratings? An experimental study

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  • Celjo-Hörhager, Sanela
  • Niessen, Alexandra

Abstract

In this experimental study we examine the impact of self-fulfilling prophecies on financial ratings. According to theoretical models like Kuhner (2001), rating agencies are more likely to reveal their private information if their rating can not become self-fulfilling from an ex-post point of view. In our experiment we use two settings in which ratings differ with respect to the degree of their self-fulfilling impact. In connection with a strong self-fulfilling impact of ratings we indeed observe that agencies are more likely to assign ratings which are not in line with their private information. Our results support theoretical findings of Kuhner (2001). However, the pathological equilibrium predicted by the theoretical model does not emerge in our experiment.

Suggested Citation

  • Celjo-Hörhager, Sanela & Niessen, Alexandra, 2006. "How do self-fulfilling prophecies affect financial ratings? An experimental study," CFR Working Papers 06-13, University of Cologne, Centre for Financial Research (CFR).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:cfrwps:0613
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Joseph Henrich, 2001. "In Search of Homo Economicus: Behavioral Experiments in 15 Small-Scale Societies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 73-78, May.
    2. Christoph Kuhner, 2001. "Financial Rating Agencies: Are They Credible? – Insights Into The Reporting Incentives Of Rating Agencies In Times Of Enhanced Systemic Risk," Schmalenbach Business Review (sbr), LMU Munich School of Management, vol. 53(1), pages 2-26, January.
    3. Friedman,Daniel & Sunder,Shyam, 1994. "Experimental Methods," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521456821.
    4. Douglas W. Diamond & Philip H. Dybvig, 2000. "Bank runs, deposit insurance, and liquidity," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Win, pages 14-23.
    5. Carlson Mark & Hale Galina B, 2006. "Rating Agencies and Sovereign Debt Rollover," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 6(2), pages 1-32, September.
    6. Robert Slonim & Alvin E. Roth, 1998. "Learning in High Stakes Ultimatum Games: An Experiment in the Slovak Republic," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(3), pages 569-596, May.
    7. Roth, Alvin E. & Vesna Prasnikar & Masahiro Okuno-Fujiwara & Shmuel Zamir, 1991. "Bargaining and Market Behavior in Jerusalem, Ljubljana, Pittsburgh, and Tokyo: An Experimental Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1068-1095, December.
    8. Cameron, Lisa A, 1999. "Raising the Stakes in the Ultimatum Game: Experimental Evidence from Indonesia," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 37(1), pages 47-59, January.
    9. Guth, Werner & Schmittberger, Rolf & Schwarze, Bernd, 1982. "An experimental analysis of ultimatum bargaining," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 367-388, December.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Self-fulfilling Prophecies; Financial Ratings; Asymmetric Information;

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • F34 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Lending and Debt Problems
    • G23 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Non-bank Financial Institutions; Financial Instruments; Institutional Investors

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