Do Credit Ratings Incorporate Business Linkages Along the Supply Chain?
42 Pages Posted: 15 Aug 2016
Date Written: June 1, 2016
This paper investigates whether credit ratings incorporate business linkages along the supply chain. We first document that a supplier’s bankruptcy risk is significantly associated with its major customer’s bankruptcy risk, thereby leading to a positive association between the credit ratings of the supplier and its major customer. However, the association between a supplier’s and its major customer’s credit rating changes is asymmetric. A supplier’s credit rating change is only positively associated with its major customer’s credit rating change when the customer has experienced a credit rating downgrade, but not when the customer has undergone an upgrade. This asymmetric effect is stronger when the customer-supplier relation lasts for a long time and when the customer is the largest customer of the supplier. We attribute this effect to the asymmetric payoff functions of the creditors, who focus on protecting downside risk rather than generating upside returns. Overall, our paper provides evidence that the customer’s credit worthiness influences the supplier’s credit ratings, suggesting that the debt market can be affected by the product market through the customer-supplier relations.
Keywords: supply chain, bankruptcy risk, credit ratings
JEL Classification: L1, G24, G32
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation