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Legal Enforcement, Default and Heterogeneity of Project Financing Contracts

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  • Gabriel de Abreu Madeira

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Abstract

This paper employs mechanism design to study how imperfect legal enforcement impacts simultaneously on the availability (or scale) of credit for investment and interest rates. The analysis combines two standard ingredients of the development and contract literatures: limited commitment, which encapsulates the idea that contract enforcement is imperfect, and asymmetric information about cash flows, which justifies debt contracts and default under some circumstances. Costly use of courts may be optimal, which differs from most limited commitment models, where punishments are just threats, never applied in optimal arrangements. Paradoxically, liquidation by courts only happens in equilibrium when courts are imperfect. Numerical solutions for several parametric specifications, allowing for heterogeneity on initial wealth are provided. In all such solutions, wealthier individuals borrow with lower interest rates and run higher scale enterprises, which is consistent with stylized facts. The reliability of courts has a consistently positive effect on the scale of projects. However its effect on interest rates is subtler and depends on the degree of curvature of the production function.

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File URL: http://www.fea.usp.br/feaecon/RePEc/documentos/GabrielMadeira_31WP.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of São Paulo (FEA-USP) in its series Working Papers, Department of Economics with number 2012_31.

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Date of creation: 07 Dec 2012
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Handle: RePEc:spa:wpaper:2012wpecon31

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Keywords: Limited Commitment; Credit Constraints; Legal Enforcement; Mechanism Design.;

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  1. Rui Albuquerque & Hugo Hopenhayn, 2002. "Optimal Lending Contracts and Firm Dynamics," RCER Working Papers 493, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  2. Greenwood, Jeremy & Jovanovic, Boyan, 1990. "Financial Development, Growth, and the Distribution of Income," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages 1076-1107, October.
  3. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silane & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1996. "Law and Finance," NBER Working Papers 5661, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Williamson, Stephen D, 1987. "Costly Monitoring, Loan Contracts, and Equilibrium Credit Rationing," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 102(1), pages 135-45, February.
  5. Ana Carla A. Costa & João M. P. De Mello, 2008. "Judicial Risk and Credit Market Performance: Micro Evidence from Brazilian Payroll Loans," NBER Chapters, in: Financial Markets Volatility and Performance in Emerging Markets, pages 155-184 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 1997. "Default and Renegotiation: A Dynamic Model of Debt," NBER Working Papers 5907, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Lloyd-Ellis, Huw & Bernhardt, Dan, 2000. "Enterprise, Inequality and Economic Development," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(1), pages 147-68, January.
  8. Gale, Douglas & Hellwig, Martin, 1985. "Incentive-Compatible Debt Contracts: The One-Period Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(4), pages 647-63, October.
  9. Stefan Krasa & Anne P. Villamil, 2000. "Optimal Contracts when Enforcement Is a Decision Variable," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(1), pages 119-134, January.
  10. Magnac, Thierry & Robin, Jean-Marc, 1996. "Occupational choice and liquidity constraints," Ricerche Economiche, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 105-133, June.
  11. Evans, David S & Jovanovic, Boyan, 1989. "An Estimated Model of Entrepreneurial Choice under Liquidity Constraints," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(4), pages 808-27, August.
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