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Collateralized Debt as the Optimal Contract


  • Jeffrey Lacker

    (Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond)


In a multiple-good risk-sharing environment with ex post private information, conditions are found under which collateralized debt is the optimal contract. The necessary and sufficient condition is that the borrower values the collateral good more highly than does the lender; otherwise the optimal contract does not resemble debt. Limited collateral can give rise to an endogenous borrowing constraint, driving a further wedge between the intertemporal marginal rates of substitution of the borrower and the lender. (Copyright: Elsevier)

Suggested Citation

  • Jeffrey Lacker, 2001. "Collateralized Debt as the Optimal Contract," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 4(4), pages 842-859, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:issued:v:4:y:2001:i:4:p:842-859
    DOI: 10.1006/redy.2001.0138

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Myerson, Roger B, 1979. "Incentive Compatibility and the Bargaining Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(1), pages 61-73, January.
    2. Benjamin, Daniel K, 1978. "The Use of Collateral to Enforce Debt Contracts," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 16(3), pages 333-359, July.
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    16. Douglas Gale & Martin Hellwig, 1985. "Incentive-Compatible Debt Contracts: The One-Period Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 52(4), pages 647-663.
    17. Jeffrey M. Lacker, 1989. "Limited commitment and costly enforcement," Working Paper 90-02, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
    18. Barro, Robert J, 1976. "The Loan Market, Collateral, and Rates of Interest," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 8(4), pages 439-456, November.
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    More about this item


    debt; financial contracts; optimal contracts; collateral; asymmetric information; borrowing constraints;

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • G10 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)


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