DP11154 | Information Sharing and Rating Manipulation

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We show that banks manipulate the credit ratings of their borrowers before being compelled to share them with competing banks. Using a unique feature on the timing of information disclosure of the Argentinean public credit registry, we disentangle the effect of manipulation from learning of credit ratings. We show that banks downgrade high quality borrowers on which they have positive private information to protect their informational rents. Banks also upgrade low quality borrowers to avoid creditor runs. Our results can explain the limited effectiveness of public credit registries and cast doubt on the use of credit ratings in reducing information asymmetry