An Empirical Assessment of Country Risk Ratings and Associated Models

Journal of Economic Surveys (Impact Factor: 1.33). 02/2004; 18(4):539-588. DOI: 10.1111/j.0950-0804.2004.00230.x
Source: RePEc

ABSTRACT Country risk has become a topic of major concern for the international financial community over the last two decades. The importance of country ratings is underscored by the existence of several major country risk rating agencies, namely the Economist Intelligence Unit, Euromoney, Institutional Investor, International Country Risk Guide, Moody's, Political Risk Services, and Standard and Poor's. These risk rating agencies employ different methods to determine country risk ratings, combining a range of qualitative and quantitative information regarding alternative measures of economic, financial and political risk into associated composite risk ratings. However, the accuracy of any risk rating agency with regard to any or all of these measures is open to question. For this reason, it is necessary to review the literature relating to empirical country risk models according to established statistical and econometric criteria used in estimation, evaluation and forecasting. Such an evaluation permits a critical assessment of the relevance and practicality of the country risk literature. The paper also provides an international comparison of risk ratings for twelve countries from six geographic regions. These ratings are compiled by the International Country Risk Guide, which is the only rating agency to provide detailed and consistent monthly data over an extended period for a large number of countries. The time series data permit a comparative assessment of the international country risk ratings, and highlight the importance of economic, financial and political risk ratings as components of a composite risk rating. Copyright Blackwell Publishers Ltd, 2004.

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