Why They Keep Missing: An Empirical Investigation of Sovereign Bond Ratings and Their Timing
Gregor von Schweinitz, Makram El-Shagi
Scottish Journal of Political Economy,
Two contradictory strands of the rating literature criticize that rating agencies merely follow the market on the one hand, and emphasizing that rating changes affect capital movements on the other hand. Both focus on explaining rating levels rather than the timing of rating announcements. Contrarily, we explicitly differentiate between a decision to assess a country and the actual rating decision. We show that this differentiation significantly improves the estimation of the rating function. The three major rating agencies treat economic fundamentals similarly, while differing in their response to other factors such as strategic considerations. This reconciles the conflicting literature.
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Potential International Employment Effects of a Hard Brexit
Hans-Ulrich Brautzsch, Oliver Holtemöller
We use the World Input Output Database (WIOD) to estimate the potential employment effects of a hard Brexit in 43 countries. In line with other studies we assume that imports from the European Union (EU) to the UK will decline by 25% after a hard Brexit. The absolute effects are largest in big EU countries which have close trade relationships with the UK like Germany and France. However, there are also large countries outside the EU which are heavily affected via global value chains like China, for example. The relative effects (in percent of total employment) are largest in Malta and Ireland. UK employment will also be affected via intermediate input production. Within Germany, the motor vehicle industry and in particular the “Autostadt” Wolfsburg are most affected.
Does it Payoff to Research Economics? A Tale of Citation, Knowledge and Economic Growth in Transition Countries
Dejan Kovač, Boris Podobnik, Nikol Scrbec
Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications,
There are many economic theories that promote human capital as a key driver of a country’s economic growth, but it is challenging to test this theory empirically on a country level and causally interpret the coefficients due to several identification problems. We tried to answer this particular question by using a quasi-natural experiment that happened quarter century ago – the fall of communist block in Eastern Europe. We use a shock to a particular scientific field – economics, to test whether the future investment into that particular field resulted in increased welfare and economic growth. The economics paradigm that was governing all of the communist block ceased to exist. Human capital depreciated over night and all communist countries had to transit from planned economy to a market economy. In the following years countries had to adapt to market economy through additional investment in human capital and research. We find that countries which lack both of the two fourth mentioned components had 25 years later a relatively lower economic growth and wealth. Unlike economics, other fields such as physics and medicine did not go through the same process so we use them as a placebo effect for our study. We find that the relative ratio of citations between economics and physics in post-communist countries is increasing only 15 years after the “paradigm” shock which gives a suggestive evidence that timing of investment into particular scientific field matters the most.
Why They Keep Missing: An Empirical Investigation of Rational Inattention of Rating Agencies
Gregor von Schweinitz, Makram El-Shagi
Sovereign ratings have frequently failed to predict crises. However, the literature has focused on explaining rating levels rather than the timing of rating announcements. We fill this gap by explicitly differentiating between a decision to assess a country and the actual rating decision. Thereby, we account for rational inattention of rating agencies that exists due to costs of reassessment. Exploiting information of rating announcements, we show that (i) the proposed differentiation significantly improves estimation; (ii) rating agencies consider many nonfundamental factors in their reassessment decision; (iii) markets only react to ratings providing new information; (iv) developed countries get preferential treatment.
The Joint Dynamics of Sovereign Ratings and Government Bond Yields
Makram El-Shagi, Gregor von Schweinitz
Can a negative shock to sovereign ratings invoke a vicious cycle of increasing government bond yields and further downgrades, ultimately pushing a country toward default? The narratives of public and political discussions, as well as of some widely cited papers, suggest this possibility. In this paper, we will investigate the possible existence of such a vicious cycle. We find no evidence of a bad long-run equilibrium and cannot confirm a negative feedback loop leading into default as a transitory state for all but the very worst ratings.