We investigate how shocks to the reputation of credit rating agencies and the subsequent introduction of stricter regulation affect investors’ reaction to rating signals. We focus on three major episodes of reputational distress: the Enron/WorldCom scandals, the subprime crisis and the lawsuit against Standard & Poor’s. We document a stronger response of stock investors to downgrades in the aftermath of reputational shocks, which is not, however, accompanied by an improvement in rating quality. Our results are consistent with a scenario where, following evidence of misrating, market investors conclude that ratings are generally overstated and infer greater negative information from downgrades. The effect is stronger for the investment-grade segment, where rating errors have a wider reputational impact. The introduction of new regulatory measures such the SOX Act, the CRA Reform Act and the Dodd-Frank Act, seems instead to improve rating quality and soften investors’ response.

Reputational Shocks and the Information Content of Credit Ratings

BEDENDO M;
2018

Abstract

We investigate how shocks to the reputation of credit rating agencies and the subsequent introduction of stricter regulation affect investors’ reaction to rating signals. We focus on three major episodes of reputational distress: the Enron/WorldCom scandals, the subprime crisis and the lawsuit against Standard & Poor’s. We document a stronger response of stock investors to downgrades in the aftermath of reputational shocks, which is not, however, accompanied by an improvement in rating quality. Our results are consistent with a scenario where, following evidence of misrating, market investors conclude that ratings are generally overstated and infer greater negative information from downgrades. The effect is stronger for the investment-grade segment, where rating errors have a wider reputational impact. The introduction of new regulatory measures such the SOX Act, the CRA Reform Act and the Dodd-Frank Act, seems instead to improve rating quality and soften investors’ response.
2018
BEDENDO M; CATHCART L; EL-JAHEL L
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/704437
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