How did increased competition affect credit ratings?

Abstract

The credit rating industry has historically been dominated by just two agencies, Moody’s and S&P, leading to longstanding legislative and regulatory calls for increased competition. The material entry of a third rating agency (Fitch) to the competitive landscape offers a unique experiment to empirically examine how in fact increased competition affects the credit ratings market. Increased competition from Fitch coincides with lower quality ratings from the incumbents: rating levels went up, the correlation between ratings and market-implied yields fell, and the ability of ratings to predict default deteriorated. We offer several possible explanations for these findings that are linked to existing theories.

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@inproceedings{Milbourn2010HowDI, title={How did increased competition affect credit ratings?}, author={Todd Milbourn and B H Becker and Darren Kisgen and Christian Leutz and Joe Mason and Atif Rehman Mian and M . D . Martin Meltz and Neil Pearson and Mitch Petersen and Joshua M. Pollet and Raghuram G. Rajan and Matthew Rhodes-Kopf}, year={2010} }