Dynamic Credit Relationships in General Equilibrium
We construct a general equilibrium model with private information in which borrowers and lenders enter into long-term dynamic credit relationships. Each new generation of ex ante identical individuals is divided in equilibrium into workers and entrepreneurs. Workers save through financial intermediaries in the form of interest-bearing deposits and supply labor to entrepreneurs in a competitive labor market. Entrepreneurs borrow from financial intermediaries to finance projects which produce privately observed sequences of random returns. Each financial intermediary holds deposits from a large number of workers and operates a portfolio of dynamic contracts with different credit positions. We calibrate the model to the U.S. economy and find that dynamic contracting is very effective at mitigating the effects of private information. Moreover, restricting borrowers and lenders to use static (one-period) contracts with a costly monitoring technology has adverse effects both on the level of aggregate econonmic activity and on individual welfare unless monitoring costs are very small. Finally, the optimal provision of intertemporal incentives leads to increasing consumption inequality over time within generational cohorts as in U.S. data.
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