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Illiquidity and Under-Valuation of Firms

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  • Douglas Gale
  • Piero Gottardi

Abstract

We study a competitive model in which market incompleteness implies that debt-financed firms may default in some states of nature and default may lead to the sale of the firms’ assets at fire sale prices when markets are illiquid. This incompleteness is the only friction in the model and the only cost of default. The anticipation of such losses alone may distort firms’ investment decisions. We characterize the conditions under which fire sales occur in equilibrium and their consequences on firms’ investment decisions. We also show that endogenous financial crises may arise in this environment, with asset prices collapsing as a result of pure self-fulfilling beliefs. Finally, we examine alternative interventions to restore the efficiency of equilibria.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2900.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2900

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Keywords: illiquid markets; default; incomplete markets; price distortions; inefficient investment;

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  1. Bengt Holmstrom & Jean Tirole, 1994. "Financial Intermediation, Loanable Funds and the Real Sector," Working papers 95-1, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  2. P. Dubey & J. Geanakoplos & M . Shubik, 2001. "Default and Punishment in General Equilibrium," Department of Economics Working Papers 01-07, Stony Brook University, Department of Economics.
  3. Kehoe, Timothy J & Levine, David K, 1993. "Debt-Constrained Asset Markets," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(4), pages 865-88, October.
  4. Sanford Grossman & Oliver Hart, 1978. "A theory of competitive equilibrium in stock market economies," Special Studies Papers 115, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  5. Franklin Allen & Douglas Gale, 2004. "Financial Intermediaries and Markets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(4), pages 1023-1061, 07.
  6. Douglas W. Diamond & Raghuram G. Rajan, . "Liquidity Risk, Liquidity Creation and Financial Fragility: A Theory of Banking," CRSP working papers 476, Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.
  7. Bengt Holmström, 2001. "LAPM: A Liquidity-Based Asset Pricing Model," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(5), pages 1837-1867, October.
  8. Douglas W. Diamond & Raghuram G. Rajan, 1999. "A Theory of Bank Capital," NBER Working Papers 7431, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Douglas W. Diamond & Raghuram G. Rajan, 2003. "Liquidity Shortages and Banking Crises," NBER Working Papers 10071, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1992. " Liquidation Values and Debt Capacity: A Market Equilibrium Approach," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(4), pages 1343-66, September.
  11. Hart, Oliver D, 1979. "On Shareholder Unanimity in Large Stock Market Economies," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(5), pages 1057-83, September.
  12. Franklin Allen & Douglas Gale, 1976. "Optimal Financial Crises," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 97-01, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
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