Passing Judgement: Credit Rating Processes as Regulatory Mechanisms of Governance in the Emerging World Order
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This paper argues that certain knowledge-producing institutions located in the American financial industry - debt-security or bond rating agencies - are significant forces in the creation and extension of the new, open global political economy and therefore deserve the attention of international political economists as mechanisms of "governance without government." Rating agencies are hypothesised to possess leverage, based on their unique gate keeping role with regard to investment funds sought by corporations and governments. The paper examines trends in capital markets, the processes leading to bond rating judgements, assesses the form and extent of the agencies' governance powers, and contemplates the implications of these judgements for further extension of the global political economy and the form of the emerging world order.