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Credit Default Swaps and the Empty Creditor Problem

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  • Patrick Bolton
  • Martin Oehmke

Abstract

The empty creditor problem arises when a debtholder has obtained insurance against default but otherwise retains control rights in and outside bankruptcy. We analyze this problem from an ex ante and ex post perspective in a formal model of debt with limited commitment, by comparing contracting outcomes with and without insurance through credit default swaps (CDS). We show that CDS, and the empty creditors they give rise to, have important ex ante commitment benefits: By strengthening creditors' bargaining power, they raise the debtor's pledgeable income and help reduce the incidence of strategic default. However, we also show that lenders will over-insure in equilibrium, giving rise to an inefficiently high incidence of costly bankruptcy. We discuss a number of remedies that have been proposed to overcome the inefficiency resulting from excess insurance. The Author 2011. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Society for Financial Studies. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com., Oxford University Press.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Society for Financial Studies in its journal Review of Financial Studies.

Volume (Year): 24 (2011)
Issue (Month): 8 ()
Pages: 2617-2655

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Handle: RePEc:oup:rfinst:v:24:y:2011:i:8:p:2617-2655

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Cited by:
  1. Subrahmanyam, Marti G. & Tang, Dragon Yongjun & Wang, Sarah Qian, 2014. "Credit default swaps and corporate cash holdings," CFS Working Paper Series 462, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  2. Ana Fostel & John Geanakoplos, 2011. "Tranching, CDS and Asset Prices: How Financial Innovation Can Cause Bubbles and Crashes," Levine's Working Paper Archive 786969000000000168, David K. Levine.
  3. Markose, Sheri & Giansante, Simone & Shaghaghi, Ali Rais, 2012. "‘Too interconnected to fail’ financial network of US CDS market: Topological fragility and systemic risk," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 83(3), pages 627-646.
  4. Chernov, Mikhail & Gorbenko, Alexander & Makarov, Igor, 2011. "CDS Auctions," CEPR Discussion Papers 8456, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. repec:dgr:uvatin:2012142 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Batchimeg Sambalaibat, 2012. "Credit Default Swaps and Sovereign Debt with Moral Hazard and Debt Renegotiation," 2012 Meeting Papers 1093, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  7. Bolton, Patrick & Oehmke, Martin, 2013. "Strategic conduct in credit derivative markets," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 652-658.
  8. Campello, Murillo & Matta, Rafael, 2012. "Credit default swaps and risk-shifting," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 117(3), pages 639-641.
  9. Arping, Stefan, 2014. "Credit protection and lending relationships," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 10(C), pages 7-19.
  10. Andras Danis, 2013. "Do Empty Creditors Matter? Evidence from Distressed Exchange Offers," IEHAS Discussion Papers 1334, Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
  11. : Gi H. Kim, 2013. "Credit Default Swaps, Strategic Default, and the Cost of Corporate Debt," Working Papers wpn13-12, Warwick Business School, Finance Group.
  12. Stefan Arping, 2012. "Credit Protection and Lending Relationships," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 12-142/IV/DSF48, Tinbergen Institute.
  13. Patrick Augustin, 2012. "Sovereign Credit Default Swap Premia," Working Papers 12-10, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
  14. repec:dgr:uvatin:2013032 is not listed on IDEAS
  15. Jaewon Choi & Or Shachar, 2013. "Did liquidity providers become liquidity seekers?," Staff Reports 650, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  16. Parlour, Christine A. & Winton, Andrew, 2013. "Laying off credit risk: Loan sales versus credit default swaps," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(1), pages 25-45.
  17. : Haitao Li & Gi H. Kim & Weina Zhang, 2010. "The CDS-Bond Basis and the Cross Section of Corporate Bond Returns," Working Papers wpn10-03, Warwick Business School, Finance Group.
  18. : Haitao Li & Weina Zhang & Gi H. Kim, 2011. "The CDS-Bond Basis Arbitrage and the Cross Section of Corporate Bond Returns," Working Papers wpn11-04, Warwick Business School, Finance Group.
  19. Marti G. Subrahmanyam & Dragon Yongjun Tang & Sarah Qian Wang, 2012. "Does the Tail Wag the Dog? The Effect of Credit Default Swaps on Credit Risk," Working Papers 292012, Hong Kong Institute for Monetary Research.

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