Sovereign credit ratings, capital flows and financial sector development in emerging markets

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Journal Article
Emerging Markets Review, 2008, 9 (1), pp. 17 - 39
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How does the sovereign credit ratings history provided by independent ratings agencies affect domestic financial sector development and international capital inflows to emerging countries? We address this question utilizing a comprehensive dataset of sovereign credit ratings from Standard and Poor's from 19952003 for a cross-section of 51 emerging markets. Within a panel data estimation framework, we examine financial sector development and the influence of sovereign credit ratings provision, controlling for various economic and corporate governance factors identified in the financial development literature. We find strong evidence that our sovereign credit rating measures do affect financial intermediary sector developments and capital flows. We find that i) long-term foreign currency sovereign credit ratings are important for encouraging financial intermediary development and for attracting capital flows. ii) Long-term local currency ratings stimulate domestic market growth but discourage international capital flows. iii) Short-term ratings (both foreign and local currency denominated) retard all forms of financial developments and capital flows. There are important implications in this research for policy makers to encourage the provision of longer-term credit ratings to promote financial development in emerging economies.
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