Articles

The Effect of Business and Financial Market Cycles on Credit Ratings: Evidence from the Last Two Decades

G. LOBO, L. PAUGAM, H. STOLOWY, P. ASTOLFI

Abacus

2017, vol. 53, n°1, pp.59-93

Departments: Accounting & Management Control, GREGHEC (CNRS)

Keywords: Business cycles; Credit rating agencies; Financial marketcycles; Investor reaction


We analyze the effect of business and financial market cycles on creditratings using a sample of firms from the Russell 3000 index that are ratedby Standard and Poor’s over the period 1986–2012. We also examine inves-tor reaction to credit rating actions in different stages of business andfinancial market cycles. We document that credit rating agencies areinfluenced by business and financial market cycles; they assign lower creditratings during downturns of business and financial market cycles andhigher ratings during upturns. Our study is the first to find strong evidenceof pro-cyclicality in credit ratings using a long window. We also documentstronger investor reaction to negative credit rating actions during down-turns. Our results confirm theoretical predictions and inform regulators


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