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An experimental investigation of rating-market regulation

Listed author(s):
  • Özgümüs, Asri
  • Keser, Claudia
  • Peterlé, Emmanuel
  • Schmidt, Martin

We introduce a simple game-theoretical model that captures the main aspects of the repeated interaction between an issuer and a credit rating agency. The scenario is characterized by up-front payments of issuer-fees and regulatory sanctions for false rating. We chose parameters such that in the Bayesian Nash equilibrium the credit rating agency should always provide truthful ratings. Knowing this, the issuer should never request a rating. Conducting laboratory experiments, we find that issuers frequently request ratings, which in turn is reciprocated with a high proportion of untruthful “good” ratings, even though the credit rating agency faces (low or high) financial penalties for being untruthful. Our results are different from the game-theoretical prediction but they are in keeping with a “cooperative solution”, similar to the “deterrence theory” in Reinard Selten’s “chain store paradox” (Selten, 1978).

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File URL: https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/145934/1/VfS_2016_pid_7078.pdf
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Paper provided by Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association in its series Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change with number 145934.

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Date of creation: 2016
Handle: RePEc:zbw:vfsc16:145934
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.socialpolitik.org/
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  1. 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.
  2. Kreps, David M. & Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John & Wilson, Robert, 1982. "Rational cooperation in the finitely repeated prisoners' dilemma," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 245-252, August.
  3. Patrick Bolton & Xavier Freixas & Joel Shapiro, 2012. "The Credit Ratings Game," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 67(1), pages 85-112, 02.
  4. Jiang, John (Xuefeng) & Harris Stanford, Mary & Xie, Yuan, 2012. "Does it matter who pays for bond ratings? Historical evidence," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(3), pages 607-621.
  5. Becker, Bo & Milbourn, Todd, 2011. "How did increased competition affect credit ratings?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 101(3), pages 493-514, September.
  6. Skreta, Vasiliki & Veldkamp, Laura, 2009. "Ratings shopping and asset complexity: A theory of ratings inflation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(5), pages 678-695, July.
  7. Kreps, David M. & Wilson, Robert, 1982. "Reputation and imperfect information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 253-279, August.
  8. Rosenthal, Robert W., 1981. "Games of perfect information, predatory pricing and the chain-store paradox," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 92-100, August.
  9. Adam B. Ashcraft & Paul Goldsmith-Pinkham & James Vickery, 2010. "MBS ratings and the mortgage credit boom," Staff Reports 449, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  10. Selten, Reinhard & Stoecker, Rolf, 1986. "End behavior in sequences of finite Prisoner's Dilemma supergames A learning theory approach," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 47-70, March.
  11. John M. Griffin & Dragon Yongjun Tang, 2012. "Did Subjectivity Play a Role in CDO Credit Ratings?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 67(4), pages 1293-1328, 08.
  12. Dimitrov, Valentin & Palia, Darius & Tang, Leo, 2015. "Impact of the Dodd-Frank act on credit ratings," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 115(3), pages 505-520.
  13. Bongaerts, Dion, 2014. "Alternatives for issuer-paid credit rating agencies," Working Paper Series 1703, European Central Bank.
  14. Sivan Frenkel, 2015. "Repeated Interaction and Rating Inflation: A Model of Double Reputation," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(1), pages 250-280, February.
  15. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
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