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Optimal debt contracts and moral hazard along the business cycle

  • Pietro Reichlin

    ()

  • Paolo Siconolfi

We analyze the Pareto optimal contracts between lenders and borrowers in a model with asymmetric information. The model generalizes the Rothschild-Stiglitz pure adverse selection problem by including moral hazard. Entrepreneurs with unequal “abilities” borrow to finance alternative investment projects which differ in degree of risk and productivity. We determine the endogenous distribution of projects as functions of the amount of loanable funds, when lenders have no information about borrowers’ ability and technological choices. Then, we embed these results in a dynamic competitive economy and show that the average quality of the selected projects in equilibrium may be high in recessions and low in booms. This phenomenon may generate (a) multiple steady states, (b) a smaller impact of exogenous shocks on output relative to the full information case, (c) endogenous fluctuations. Copyright Springer-Verlag Berlin/Heidelberg 2004

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s00199-003-0413-0
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Article provided by Springer in its journal Economic Theory.

Volume (Year): 24 (2004)
Issue (Month): 1 (07)
Pages: 75-109

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Handle: RePEc:spr:joecth:v:24:y:2004:i:1:p:75-109
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  1. Reichlin, Pietro & Siconolfi, Paolo, 1997. "Adverse Selection of Investment Projects and the Business Cycle," CEPR Discussion Papers 1631, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Suarez, Javier & Sussman, Oren, 1997. "Endogenous Cycles in a Stiglitz-Weiss Economy," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 47-71, September.
  3. Bernanke, Ben & Gertler, Mark, 1989. "Agency Costs, Net Worth, and Business Fluctuations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(1), pages 14-31, March.
  4. Rothschild, Michael & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1976. "Equilibrium in Competitive Insurance Markets: An Essay on the Economics of Imperfect Information," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 90(4), pages 630-49, November.
  5. Bruce C. Greenwald & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1988. "Financial Market Imperfections and Business Cycles," NBER Working Papers 2494, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Bester, Helmut, 1987. "The role of collateral in credit markets with imperfect information," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 887-899, June.
  7. Boyd, J.h. & Smith, B.D., 1991. "The Equilibrium Allocation of Investment Capital in the Presence of Adverse Selection and Costly State Verification," RCER Working Papers 289, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  8. Caballero, Ricardo J & Hammour, Mohamad L, 1994. "The Cleansing Effect of Recessions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1350-68, December.
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