The Effect of Reputation Shocks to Rating Agencies on Corporate Disclosures

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Date

2016

Authors

Sethuraman, Subramanian

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Venkatachalam, Mohan

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Abstract

This paper explores the effect of credit rating agency’s (CRA) reputation on the discretionary disclosures of corporate bond issuers. Academics, practitioners, and regulators disagree on the informational role played by major CRAs and the usefulness of credit ratings in influencing investors’ perception of the credit risk of bond issuers. Using management earnings forecasts as a measure of discretionary disclosure, I find that investors demand more (less) disclosure from bond issuers when the ratings become less (more) credible. In addition, using content analytics, I find that bond issuers disclose more qualitative information during periods of low CRA reputation to aid investors better assess credit risk. That the corporate managers alter their voluntary disclosure in response to CRA reputation shocks is consistent with credit ratings providing incremental information to investors and reducing adverse selection in lending markets. Overall, my findings suggest that managers rely on voluntary disclosure as a credible mechanism to reduce information asymmetry in bond markets.

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Citation

Sethuraman, Subramanian (2016). The Effect of Reputation Shocks to Rating Agencies on Corporate Disclosures. Dissertation, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/12899.

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