The Credit Rating Crisis

57 Pages Posted: 8 Jun 2009 Last revised: 3 Oct 2010

See all articles by Efraim Benmelech

Efraim Benmelech

Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Jennifer Dlugosz

Washington University in St. Louis - John M. Olin Business School

Date Written: June 2009

Abstract

Since June 2007, the creditworthiness of structured finance products has deteriorated rapidly. The number of downgrades in November 2007 alone exceeded 2,000 and many downgrades were severe, with 500 tranches downgraded more than 10 notches. Massive downgrades continued in 2008. More than 11,000 of the downgrades affected securities that were rated AAA. This paper studies the credit rating crisis of 2007-2008 and in particular describes the collapse of the credit ratings of ABS CDOs. Using data on ABS CDOs we provide suggestive evidence that ratings shopping may have played a role in the current crisis. We find that tranches rated solely by one agency, and by S&P in particular, were more likely to be downgraded by January 2008. Further, tranches rated solely by one agency are more likely to suffer more severe downgrades.

Suggested Citation

Benmelech, Efraim and Dlugosz, Jennifer, The Credit Rating Crisis (June 2009). NBER Working Paper No. w15045. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1415208

Efraim Benmelech (Contact Author)

Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management ( email )

Evanston, IL 60208
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Jennifer Dlugosz

Washington University in St. Louis - John M. Olin Business School ( email )

One Brookings Drive
Campus Box 1133
St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
United States

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