This paper critically reviews the debate on CRAs and, in the light thereof, analyses the European regulatory approach to CRAs, thereby combining insights from economics and law. We first provide some basic background on the function of CRAs. Thereafter, we focus on the two main tasks for which CRAs have come under criticism, namely the issuing of sovereign ratings and the rating of structured instruments. Finally, we zoom in on the question of whether and how CRAs should be regulated given their function, focusing on recent European legislation that aims to standardize the conduct of CRAs.
Key words: Credit rating, regulation.
JEL Codes: G21, G18.