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Special Purpose Vehicles and Securitization

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  • Gary Gorton
  • Nicholas Souleles

Abstract

Firms can finance themselves on- or off-balance sheet. Off-balance sheet financing involves transferring assets to "special purpose vehicles" (SPVs), following accounting and regulatory rules that circumscribe relations between the sponsoring firm and the SPVs. SPVs are carefully designed to avoid bankruptcy. If the firm's bankruptcy costs are high, off-balance sheet financing can be advantageous, especially for sponsoring firms that are risky. In a repeated SPV game, firms can "commit" to subsidize or "bail out" their SPVs when the SPV would otherwise not honor its debt commitments. Investors in SPVs know that, despite legal and accounting restrictions to the contrary, SPV sponsors can bail out their SPVs if there is the need. We find evidence consistent with these predictions using data on credit card securitizations.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 11190.

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Date of creation: Mar 2005
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Publication status: published as Special Purpose Vehicles and Securitization , Gary B. Gorton, Nicholas S. Souleles. in The Risks of Financial Institutions , Carey and Stulz. 2006
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11190

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  1. Green, Edward J & Porter, Robert H, 1984. "Noncooperative Collusion under Imperfect Price Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(1), pages 87-100, January.
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  7. Charles W. Calomiris & Joseph R. Mason, 2003. "Credit card securitization and regulatory arbitrage," Working Papers 03-7, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  8. Friedman, James W, 1971. "A Non-cooperative Equilibrium for Supergames," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(113), pages 1-12, January.
  9. Gorton, Gary & Winton, Andrew, 2003. "Financial intermediation," Handbook of the Economics of Finance, in: G.M. Constantinides & M. Harris & R. M. Stulz (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Finance, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 8, pages 431-552 Elsevier.
  10. Abreu, Dilip, 1988. "On the Theory of Infinitely Repeated Games with Discounting," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(2), pages 383-96, March.
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