Determinants of Heterogeneity in European Credit Ratings

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review


In this study, we empirically analyze the determinants of heterogeneity in rating assessments across different segments of the European loan market. We conduct a benchmarking analysis using rating information on European corporate obligors from nine major Austrian banks that have a large share of foreign lending, particularly in the Central and Eastern European region. We provide evidence that, generally, overall heterogeneity among rating outcomes for foreign markets is higher than for domestic markets. Furthermore, we show that heterogeneity increases in transition economies and those markets where Austrian bank involvement is relatively low. Our evidence supports the hypothesis that heterogeneity in the assessment of credit risk is determined not only by the objective quality of information, which is deemed to be lower in transition economies, but also by the subjective access to information about obligors measured by the level of domestic bank involvement in the respective foreign market. Furthermore, we quantify potential effects on regulatory capital requirements.
DOI: 10.1007/s11408-010-0134-x
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271 - 287
JournalFinancial Markets and Portfolio Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2010

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