Rating Standards around the World: A Puzzle?
55 Pages Posted: 6 Mar 2019 Last revised: 7 Mar 2023
Date Written: February 26, 2019
Using panel data on S&P’s credit ratings for firms from 63 countries over the 2000–2016 period, we uncover divergent patterns in the rating standards over time. Standards strengthen by 1.5 notches for U.S. firms and by 2.2 notches for other developed country firms, but weaken by 1.2 notches for emerging country firms. Default and credit spread tests show that standards tightening for U.S. and other developed country firms is likely unwarranted, whereas standards loosening for firms in emerging economies appears to be justified. This novel and puzzling evidence suggests that S&P does not adopt consistent global standards over time.
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