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China's Emerging Credit Rating Industry: The Official Foundations of Private Authority*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 March 2008

Abstract

Although China has had difficulty improving the performance of its banks and stock markets, it has struggled even more to develop a credit rating industry. Credit rating agencies (CRA), which provide bond ratings, are vital to financial markets in advanced capitalist countries, but China's credit rating companies are weak and have had little influence over the behaviour of those who issue or invest in bonds. Some argue that CRAs gain authority through their strong reputation in the eyes of market participants, but the experience of rating agencies in China supports evidence from elsewhere that their private authority is largely dependent on government mandate, a benefit China's CRAs have only recently begun to enjoy. Many private actors, from trade associations to charity groups, are struggling to gain public influence in China, but credit rating agencies may be the best barometer to measure the Chinese government's general stance towards private authority.

Type
Special Section on Rural Protests
Copyright
Copyright © The China Quarterly 2008

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References

* The author would like to thank Tim Bartley, Pieter Bottelier, Peter Gourevtich, Virginia Haufler, Ethan Michelson, Barry Naughton, Dan Rosen and Timothy Sinclair for their comments on earlier drafts. The East Asian Studies Center and the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at Indiana University graciously provided financial support for fieldwork in China.

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