Effects of credit rating change on risk-taking
Malik, Asif Iqbal
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This thesis investigates whether there are changes in risk-taking behavior following an upgrade or downgrade in credit ratings. Research on effects of rating changes on capital markets is well-documented but the literature on how rating changes may affect firm behavior is sparse. Following, a downgrade in credit rating, managers may increase risk-taking to improve their overall performance or reduce risk-taking following upgrades to ensure that their performance is assessed more on the basis of what they may deem success in the form of an upgrade. Using a sample of firms trading in the U.S from 1994-2013, we find evidence of change in risk-taking behavior. We use cross-sectional regressions and matching using propensity scores and Barber and Lyon (1997) methodology to measure changes in risk-taking and we do find evidence of changes in managerial risk-taking behavior. Furthermore, we find that the direction of change (increase or decrease) in some cases is dependent on the type of measure rather than the type of rating change.