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Illiquidity and Under-Valuation of Firms

  • Douglas Gale
  • Piero Gottardi

We study a competitive model in which market incompleteness implies that debt-financed firms may default in some states of nature and default may lead to the sale of the firms’ assets at fire sale prices when markets are illiquid. This incompleteness is the only friction in the model and the only cost of default. The anticipation of such losses alone may distort firms’ investment decisions. We characterize the conditions under which fire sales occur in equilibrium and their consequences on firms’ investment decisions. We also show that endogenous financial crises may arise in this environment, with asset prices collapsing as a result of pure self-fulfilling beliefs. Finally, we examine alternative interventions to restore the efficiency of equilibria.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2900.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2900
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  1. Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W., 1992. "Liquidation Values and Debt Capacity: A Market Equilibrium Approach," Scholarly Articles 27692663, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. Pradeep Dubey & John Geanakoplos & Martin Shubik, 2005. "Default and Punishment in General Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(1), pages 1-37, 01.
  3. Holmström, Bengt & Tirole, Jean, 1994. "Financial Intermediation, Loanable Funds and the Real Sector," IDEI Working Papers 40, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  4. Bengt Holmström, 2001. "LAPM: A Liquidity-Based Asset Pricing Model," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(5), pages 1837-1867, October.
  5. Douglas W. Diamond & Raghuram G. Rajan, 1998. "Liquidity risk, liquidity creation and financial fragility: a theory of banking," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Sep.
  6. Timothy J. Kehoe & David K. Levine, 1993. "Debt-Constrained Asset Markets," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(4), pages 865-888.
  7. Franklin Allen & Douglas Gale, 1976. "Optimal Financial Crises," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 97-01, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
  8. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver D, 1979. "A Theory of Competitive Equilibrium in Stock Market Economies," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 293-329, March.
  9. Franklin Allen & Douglas Gale, 2004. "Financial Intermediaries and Markets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(4), pages 1023-1061, 07.
  10. Douglas W. Diamond & Raghuram G. Rajan, 2002. "Liquidity Shortages and Banking Crises," NBER Working Papers 8937, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Douglas W. Diamond & Raghuram G. Rajan, 1999. "A Theory of Bank Capital," NBER Working Papers 7431, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Hart, Oliver D, 1979. "On Shareholder Unanimity in Large Stock Market Economies," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(5), pages 1057-83, September.
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