Professor Aswath Damodaran explains the decreasing relevance of AAA credit ratings; Professor Holger Mueller's research on the financial crisis is cited
Excerpt from Bloomberg -- "The mass desertion of the AAA reflects a larger truth about corporate finance: Company managers are strongly influenced by what their peers are doing, says Aswath Damodaran, a finance professor at NYU’s Stern School of Business. 'If everyone else is borrowing, you tend to borrow, too,' he says. ... Companies that loaded up on debt in the early to mid-2000s were more likely than others to fire workers once the 2007-09 recession hit, according to a National Bureau of Economic Research working paper issued last year. Weak balance sheets were 'instrumental in the propagation of shocks' during the crisis, Xavier Giroud of MIT’s Sloan School of Management and Holger Mueller of the Stern School of Business wrote in the report."