Marc Joffe of the OKF reports, “Throughout the Eurozone, credit rating agencies have been under attack for their lack of transparency and for their pro-cyclical sovereign rating actions. In the humble belief that the crowd can outperform the credit rating oracles, we are introducing an open database of historical sovereign risk data. It is available at http://www.publicsectorcredit.org/sovdef/ where community members can both view and edit the data. Once the quality of this data is sufficient, the data set can be used to create unbiased, transparent models of sovereign credit risk. The database contains central government revenue, expenditure, public debt and interest costs from the 19th century through 2011 – along with crisis indicators taken from Reinhart and Rogoff’s public database.”

He goes on, “Prior to the appearance of This Time is Different, discussions of sovereign credit more often revolved around political and trade-related factors. Reinhart and Rogoff have more appropriately focused the discussion on debt sustainability. As with individual and corporate debt, government debt becomes more risky as a government’s debt burden increases. While intuitively obvious, this truth too often gets lost among the multitude of criteria listed by rating agencies and within the politically charged fiscal policy debate. In addition to emphasizing the importance of debt sustainability, Reinhart and Rogoff showed the virtues of considering a longer history of sovereign debt crises.”

Read more here.

Image: Courtesy OKF