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Why they keep missing: An empirical investigation of rational inattention of rating agencies

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  • El-Shagi, Makram
  • von Schweinitz, Gregor

Abstract

Sovereign ratings have frequently failed to predict crises. However, the literature has focused on explaining rating levels rather than the timing of rating announcements. We fill this gap by explicitly differentiating between a decision to assess a country and the actual rating decision. Thereby, we account for rational inattention of rating agencies that exists due to costs of reassessment. Exploiting information of rating announcements, we show that (i) the proposed differentiation significantly improves estimation; (ii) rating agencies consider many nonfundamental factors in their reassessment decision; (iii) markets only react to ratings providing new information; (iv) developed countries get preferential treatment.

Suggested Citation

  • El-Shagi, Makram & von Schweinitz, Gregor, 2017. "Why they keep missing: An empirical investigation of rational inattention of rating agencies," IWH Discussion Papers 1/2017, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:iwhdps:12017
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    Cited by:

    1. El-Shagi, Makram & Schweinitz, Gregor von, 2018. "The joint dynamics of sovereign ratings and government bond yields," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 198-218.
    2. Bagattini, Giulio & Fecht, Falko & Weber, Patrick, 2019. "The fire-sale channels of universal banks in the European sovereign debt crisis," Discussion Papers 43/2019, Deutsche Bundesbank.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    rating agencies; sovereign risk; rational inattention;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C25 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models; Discrete Regressors; Proportions; Probabilities
    • F34 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Lending and Debt Problems
    • G24 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Investment Banking; Venture Capital; Brokerage

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