06.07.2017 • 28/2017
Politicians share responsibility for the risk of their state defaulting
Investors assume higher risks of default when a country is politically unstable or governed by a party at the left or right end of the political spectrum. However, according to findings obtained by Stefan Eichler from the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH), the more democratic the country is and the more it is integrated into the global economy, the lower is the impact that such political factors have.
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04.01.2017 • 2/2017
Worse ratings by U.S. rating agencies for European sovereigns no argument for European rating agency
A new study by the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) – Member of the Leibniz Association shows that the major U.S. rating agencies rated European sovereigns significantly worse than Fitch, which is more “Europe oriented”. Although the findings in part support the claim of some European politicians during the recent debt crisis that there was an “anti-Europe” bias of the U.S. agencies, the study shows that a new European agency would not address this problem. The reason: Market participants would not listen to the new agency.
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Determinants of the Size of the Sovereign Credit Default Swap Market
Journal of Fixed Income,
We analyze the sovereign credit default swap (CDS) market for 57 countries, using a novel dataset comprising weekly positions and turnover data. We document that CDS markets—measured relative to a country’s debt—are larger for smaller countries, countries with a rating just above the investment-grade cutoff, and countries with weaker creditor rights. Analyzing changes in credit risk, we find that rating changes matter but only for negative rating events (downgrades and negative outlooks). In particular, weeks with downgrades and negative outlooks are associated with a significantly higher turnover in the sovereign CDS market, even after controlling for changes in sovereign CDS spreads. We conclude that agencies’ ratings are a major determinant of the size of the sovereign CDS market.
Corporate Boards and Bank Loan Contracting
The Journal of Financial Research,
We investigate the role of corporate boards in bank loan contracting. We find that when corporate boards are more independent, both price and nonprice loan terms (e.g., interest rates, collateral, covenants, and performance-pricing provisions) are more favorable, and syndicated loans comprise more lenders. In addition, board size, audit committee structure, and other board characteristics influence bank loan prices. However, they do not consistently affect all nonprice loan terms except for audit committee independence. Our study provides strong evidence that banks recognize the benefits of board monitoring in mitigating information risk ex ante and controlling agency risk ex post, and they reward higher quality boards with more favorable loan contract terms.