Credit Rating Agencies

Timothy J. Sinclair

in The Oxford Handbook of Business and Government

Published in print February 2010 | ISBN: 9780199214273
Published online May 2010 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Business and Management

 Credit Rating Agencies

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Ratings seem increasingly central to the regulatory system of modern capitalism and therefore to governments everywhere. Getting credit ratings “right” therefore seems vitally important to many observers. But in pursuing improvement in the rating system one needs to appreciate the challenges and limits to rating. This article argues, after due attention to the origins and work of the agencies, that our expectations of the agencies are founded on a limited rationalist or machine-like understanding of the workings of capital markets. A more appropriately social (and dynamic) view of markets makes the challenge of effective rating even more daunting. The increasingly volatile nature of markets has created a crisis in relations between the agencies and governments, which increasingly seek to monitor their performance and stimulate reform in their procedures.

Keywords: credit rating; regulatory system; capitalism; capital markets; market reforms; rating agencies

Article.  8551 words. 

Subjects: Business and Management ; Business Strategy

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