An Empirical Analysis of the Effects of the Dodd-Frank Act on Determinants of Credit Ratings

57 Pages Posted: 26 Jun 2017 Last revised: 8 Apr 2021

See all articles by Anwer S. Ahmed

Anwer S. Ahmed

Texas A&M University - Mays Business School

Dechun Wang

Texas A&M University

Nina Xu

University of Connecticut

Date Written: March 29, 2019

Abstract

We study the effects of the Dodd-Frank Act (“Dodd-Frank”) on determinants of credit ratings. We
predict that the increase in regulatory oversight and litigation risk prompted by Dodd-Frank, as
well as requirements for improved disclosures and governance, motivated credit rating agencies
(CRAs) to increase the reliance on firm-specific, quantitative fundamental information in
determining ratings. We find that the power of firm fundamentals in explaining credit ratings
increases significantly after Dodd-Frank. We also show that the association between ratings and
certain firm-specific fundamentals is stronger in the post-Dodd-Frank than in the pre-Dodd-Frank
period. Furthermore, we find that the greater reliance on firm fundamentals at least partially drives
the improvement in credit ratings’ ability to predict future defaults. Collectively, our evidence
suggests that Dodd-Frank incentivizes CRAs to use more quantitative information in making rating
decisions, which improves credit rating quality.

Keywords: Dodd-Frank Act; Fundamental information; Credit rating; Default prediction

JEL Classification: G380; K220; M400

Suggested Citation

Ahmed, Anwer S. and Wang, Dechun and Xu, Nina, An Empirical Analysis of the Effects of the Dodd-Frank Act on Determinants of Credit Ratings (March 29, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2991922 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2991922

Anwer S. Ahmed

Texas A&M University - Mays Business School ( email )

430 Wehner
College Station, TX 77843-4353
United States

Dechun Wang (Contact Author)

Texas A&M University ( email )

430 Wehner
College Station, TX 77843-4353
United States

Nina Xu

University of Connecticut ( email )

Storrs, CT 06269-1063
United States

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