Opacity, Credit Rating Shopping and Bias
51 Pages Posted: 14 Mar 2012 Last revised: 26 Jan 2018
Date Written: December 29, 2015
We develop a rational expectations model in which an issuer purchases credit ratings sequentially, deciding which to disclose to investors. Opacity about contacts between the issuer and rating agencies induces potential asymmetric information about which ratings the issuer obtained. While the equilibrium forces disclosure of ratings when the market knows these have been generated, endogenous uncertainty about whether there are undisclosed ratings can arise and lead to selective disclosure and rating bias. Although investors account for this bias in pricing, selective disclosure makes ratings noisier signals of project value, leading to inefficient investment decisions. Our paper suggests that regulatory disclosure requirements are welfare-enhancing.
The appendices for this paper are available at the following URL: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2260045.
Keywords: credit rating agencies; ratings shopping; selective disclosure; rational expectations; opacity; ratings bias
JEL Classification: D61, D82, G14, G24, G28
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