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Managing Markets for Toxic Assets

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  • Christopher L. House
  • Yusufcan Masatlioglu

Abstract

We present a model in which banks trade toxic assets to raise funds for investment. The toxic assets generate an adverse selection problem and, as a consequence, the interbank asset market provides insufficient liquidity to finance investment. While the best investments are fully funded, socially efficient projects with modest payoffs are not. Investment is inefficiently low because acquiring funding requires banks to sell high-quality assets for less than their "fair" value. We then consider whether equity injections and asset purchases can improve market outcomes. Equity injections do not improve liquidity and may be counterproductive as a policy for increasing investment. By allowing banks to fund investments without having to sell high-quality assets, equity injections reduce the number of high-quality assets traded and further contaminate the interbank market. Paradoxically, if equity injections are directed to firms with the greatest liquidity needs, the contamination effect causes investment to fall. In contrast, asset purchase programs, like the Public-Private Investment Program, often have favorable impacts on liquidity, investment and welfare.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16145.

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Date of creation: Jul 2010
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16145

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  1. Ben Lester & Braz Camargo, 2010. "Trading Dynamics in Decentralized Markets with Adverse Selection," 2010 Meeting Papers 488, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  2. Myers, Stewart C. & Majluf, Nicholas S., 1984. "Corporate financing and investment decisions when firms have information that investors do not have," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 187-221, June.
  3. Thomas Philippon & Vasiliki Skreta, 2010. "Optimal Interventions in Markets with Adverse Selection," NBER Working Papers 15785, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. de Meza, David & Webb, David C, 1987. "Too Much Investment: A Problem of Asymmetric Information," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 102(2), pages 281-92, May.
  5. Mankiw, N Gregory, 1986. "The Allocation of Credit and Financial Collapse," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 101(3), pages 455-70, August.
  6. Stewart C. Myers & Nicholas S. Majluf, 1984. "Corporate Financing and Investment Decisions When Firms Have InformationThat Investors Do Not Have," NBER Working Papers 1396, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Stiglitz, Joseph E & Weiss, Andrew, 1981. "Credit Rationing in Markets with Imperfect Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 393-410, June.
  8. Ben Bernanke & Mark Gertler & Simon Gilchrist, 1998. "The Financial Accelerator in a Quantitative Business Cycle Framework," NBER Working Papers 6455, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Myers, Stewart C. & Majluf, Nicolás S., 1945-, 1984. "Corporate financing and investment decisions when firms have information that investors do not have," Working papers 1523-84., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  10. Stiglitz Joseph, 2008. "We Aren't Done Yet: Comments on the Financial Crisis and Bailout," The Economists' Voice, De Gruyter, vol. 5(5), pages 1-4, September.
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Cited by:
  1. Max Bruche & Gerard Llobet, 2011. "Walking Wounded or Living Dead? Making Banks Foreclose Bad Loans," FMG Discussion Papers dp675, Financial Markets Group.
  2. Kyungmin Kim & Benjamin Lester & Braz Camargo, 2012. "Subsidizing Price Discovery," 2012 Meeting Papers 338, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  3. Braz Camargo & Benjamin Lester, 2011. "Trading dynamics in decentralized markets with adverse selection," Working Papers 11-36, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  4. Lester, Benjamin, 2013. "Breaking the ice: government interventions in frozen markets," Business Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, issue Q4, pages 19-25.
  5. Hryckiewicz, Aneta, 2014. "The problem with government interventions: The wrong banks, inadequate strategies, or ineffective measures?," MPRA Paper 56730, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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