Credit Ratings in the Age of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG)

63 Pages Posted: 18 May 2020 Last revised: 22 Oct 2021

Date Written: April 18, 2020

Abstract

I present the first study that systematically examines the implications of ESG adoption by credit rating agencies. I find that, with a recent move by Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s towards incorporating ESG issues into their analysis, credit ratings positively reflect firms with lower carbon emissions and better social ratings. Despite the recognition of such issues by credit rating agencies, I discover no consistent evidence of improvement in the informational quality of credit ratings. This is concerning as the stated purpose of ESG adoption is to enhance their assessment of credit risk.

Keywords: credit rating agency, ESG, corporate social responsibility, corporate governance

JEL Classification: G24, G34

Suggested Citation

Yang, Ruoke, Credit Ratings in the Age of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) (April 18, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3595376 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3595376

Ruoke Yang (Contact Author)

Imperial College London ( email )

South Kensington Campus
Exhibition Road
London, Greater London SW7 2AZ
United Kingdom

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