IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Privately versus Publicly Optimal Skin in the Game: Optimal Mechanism and Security Design


  • Chemla, Gilles
  • Hennessy, Christopher


We examine screening incentives, welfare and the case for mandatory skin-in-the-game. Ex ante banks can screen, using interim private information to choose retentions and structuring. Ex post speculators trade with rational hedging investors. Absent regulation, there is a separating equilibrium with voluntary retentions. If funding value is high, banks may instead originate-to-distribute (OTD), selling the entire asset in opaque form, deterring informed speculation and destroying screening incentives. Under weaker conditions, banks instead sell the asset in transparent form, using tranching to increase hedging demand, informed speculation and price informativeness. With sufficient informed speculation, transparent OTD actually creates stronger screening incentives than voluntary retentions. In all unregulated market equilibria, interim adverse selection reduces screening incentives, so mandated retentions potentially increase welfare. To induce screening via pooling, banks should be required to retain a uniform junior tranche size which decreases in informational efficiency. However, uniform retention mandates may not be optimal. To improve risk-sharing, screening can instead be induced via separating contracts by compelling banks to choose from a menu of junior tranche retention sizes. In either case, efficiency of risk-sharing is maximized by splitting marketed claims into safe senior and risky mezzanine tranches. Finally, the separating (pooling) regulatory regime generally leads to higher welfare if efficient risk-sharing (bank investment scale) is the dominant consideration, and is always optimal in informationally inefficient markets.

Suggested Citation

  • Chemla, Gilles & Hennessy, Christopher, 2011. "Privately versus Publicly Optimal Skin in the Game: Optimal Mechanism and Security Design," CEPR Discussion Papers 8403, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8403

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: CEPR Discussion Papers are free to download for our researchers, subscribers and members. If you fall into one of these categories but have trouble downloading our papers, please contact us at

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Denis Gromb, 2000. "Public Trading and Private Incentives," FMG Discussion Papers dp347, Financial Markets Group.
    2. repec:hrv:faseco:33077921 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Philippe Aghion & Patrick Bolton & Jean Tirole, 2004. "Exit Options in Corporate Finance: Liquidity versus Incentives," Review of Finance, Springer, vol. 8(3), pages 327-353.
    4. Boot, Arnoud W A & Thakor, Anjan V, 1993. " Security Design," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 48(4), pages 1349-1378, September.
    5. Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W., 2010. "Unstable banking," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(3), pages 306-318, September.
    6. Peter DeMarzo & Darrell Duffie, 1999. "A Liquidity-Based Model of Security Design," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(1), pages 65-100, January.
    7. Franklin Allen, Douglas Gale, 1988. "Optimal Security Design," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 1(3), pages 229-263.
    8. Gorton, Gary B. & Pennacchi, George G., 1995. "Banks and loan sales Marketing nonmarketable assets," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 389-411, June.
    9. Innes, Robert D., 1990. "Limited liability and incentive contracting with ex-ante action choices," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 45-67, October.
    10. Antoine Faure-Grimaud, 2004. "Public Trading and Private Incentives," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 17(4), pages 985-1014.
    11. Holmstrom, Bengt & Tirole, Jean, 1993. "Market Liquidity and Performance Monitoring," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(4), pages 678-709, August.
    12. Christine A. Parlour & Guillaume Plantin, 2008. "Loan Sales and Relationship Banking," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 63(3), pages 1291-1314, June.
    13. Ernst Maug, 1998. "Large Shareholders as Monitors: Is There a Trade-Off between Liquidity and Control?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 53(1), pages 65-98, February.
    14. Gorton, Gary & Pennacchi, George, 1990. " Financial Intermediaries and Liquidity Creation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 45(1), pages 49-71, March.
    15. Guillaume Plantin, 2011. "Good Securitization, Bad Securitization," IMES Discussion Paper Series 11-E-04, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan.
    16. Glosten, Lawrence R. & Milgrom, Paul R., 1985. "Bid, ask and transaction prices in a specialist market with heterogeneously informed traders," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 71-100, March.
    17. Benjamin J. Keys & Tanmoy Mukherjee & Amit Seru & Vikrant Vig, 2010. "Did Securitization Lead to Lax Screening? Evidence from Subprime Loans," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(1), pages 307-362.
    18. repec:oup:rfinst:v:25:y::i:7:p:2071-2108 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. Fulghieri, Paolo & Lukin, Dmitry, 2001. "Information production, dilution costs, and optimal security design," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 3-42, July.
    20. Dow, James, 1998. "Arbitrage, Hedging, and Financial Innovation," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 11(4), pages 739-755.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    adverse selection; originate to distribute; screening incentives; securitization; skin in the game; speculator; uninformed investors;

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • G38 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8403. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.