Partisan Professionals: Evidence from Credit Rating Analysts
93 Pages Posted: 26 Nov 2018 Last revised: 8 Feb 2021
Date Written: November 2018
Partisan perception affects the actions of professionals in the financial sector. Using a novel dataset linking credit rating analysts to party affiliations from voter records, we show that analysts who are not affiliated with the U.S. president's party downward-adjust corporate credit ratings more frequently. By comparing analysts with different party affiliations covering the same firm in the same quarter, we ensure that differences in firm fundamentals cannot explain the results. We also find a sharp divergence in the rating actions of Democratic and Republican analysts around the 2016 presidential election. Our results show analysts' partisan perception has sizable price effects on rated firms and may influence firms' investment policies.
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