What drives differences of opinion in sovereign ratings? The roles of information disclosure and political risk

Huong Vu, Rasha Alsakka, Owain ap Gwilym

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Abstract

This paper investigates the causes of split sovereign ratings across S&P, Moody's, and Fitch for 64 countries from 1997 to 2011. We identify that split sovereign ratings are not symmetric, with S&P tending to be the most conservative agency. We find that opaque sovereigns are more likely to receive split ratings. Political risk plays a highly significant role in explaining split ratings and dominates economic and financial indicators. Out‐of‐sample model performance is enhanced by capturing political risk. Government information disclosure affects split ratings between Moody's and Fitch in emerging countries. The study implies an incentive for governments to reduce political uncertainty and to enhance transparency.
Publisher Statement: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Vu, H, Alsakka, R & ap Gwilym, O 2017, 'What drives differences of opinion in sovereign ratings? : The roles of information disclosure and political risk' International Journal of Finance and Economics, vol 22, no. 3, pp. 216-233, which has been published in final form at https://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ijfe.1579. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)216-233
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Finance and Economics
Volume22
Issue number3
Early online date27 Apr 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017

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Bibliographical note

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Vu, H, Alsakka, R & ap Gwilym, O 2017, 'What drives differences of opinion in sovereign ratings? : The roles of information disclosure and political risk' International Journal of Finance and Economics, vol 22, no. 3, pp. 216-233, which has been published in final form at https://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ijfe.1579. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.

Keywords

  • Sovereign credit ratings
  • information opacity
  • split ratings
  • information disclosure
  • opacity
  • out-of-sample performance
  • political risk
  • sovereign split ratings

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