Does the "issuer-pay" model hold also for sovereign credit ratings? Do States pay for having their bond being rated?
The "issuer-pay" model works like this: The Rating Agency goes to the issuer and says "We heard that you are going to issue bonds. We can give you a rating if you pay us XXX dollars. It will help you a lot to have our rating". The Issuer of course is free to refuse this offer (after all this is just a rating agency, not the Cosa Nostra). In this case the rating agency can still rate the issuer if it wants to (for a variety of reasons, for example to allow comparison with other issuers). I believe the big countries (United Kingdom, USA, etc.) fall in the latter case: they never pay for ratings, so they are rated gratis (at no charge). In general it will depend on the country's judgement of whether they need a rating or not.