DP14343 Partisan Professionals: Evidence from Credit Rating Analysts

Author(s): Elisabeth Kempf, Margarita Tsoutsoura
Publication Date: January 2020
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Programme Areas: Financial Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=14343

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 affects firms' cost of capital and investment policies.