In the classical general equilibrium model, agents keep all their promises, every good is traded, and competition prevents any agent from earning superior returns on investments in financial markets. In this paper I introduce the age-old problem of broken promises into the general equilibrium model, and I find that a new market dynamic emerges. Given the legal system and institutions, market forces of supply and demand will establish the collateral levels which are required to secure promises. Since physical collateral will typically be scarce, these collateral levels will be set so low that there is bound to be some default. Many kinds of promises will not be traded, because that also economizes on collateral. Scarce collateral thus creates a mechanism for determining endogenously which assets will be traded, thereby helping to resolve a long standing puzzle in general equilibrium theory. Finally, I shall show that under suitable conditions, in rational expectations equilibrium, some investors will be able to earn higher than normal returns on their investments. The legal system, in conjunction with the market, will be under constant pressure to expand the potential sources of collateral. This will lead to market innovation. I illustrate the theoretical points in this paper with some of my experiences on Wall Street as director of fixed income research at the firm of Kidder Peabody.
|Date of creation:||Dec 1996|
|Publication status:||Published in W.B. Arthur, S.N. Durlauf and D.A. Lane, eds., The Economy as an Evolving Complex System II, Addison-Wesley, 1997, pp. 285-320|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Yale University, Box 208281, New Haven, CT 06520-8281 USA|
Phone: (203) 432-3702
Fax: (203) 432-6167
Web page: http://cowles.yale.edu/
More information through EDIRC
|Order Information:|| Postal: Cowles Foundation, Yale University, Box 208281, New Haven, CT 06520-8281 USA|
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Kiyotaki, Nobuhiro & Moore, John, 1997.
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(2), pages 211-248, April.
- John Moore & Nobuhiro Kiyotaki, "undated". "Credit Cycles," Discussion Papers 1995-5, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
- Nobuhiro Kiyotaki & John Moore, 1995. "Credit Cycles," NBER Working Papers 5083, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Zame, William R, 1993. "Efficiency and the Role of Default When Security Markets Are Incomplete," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1142-1164, December.
- William R. Zame, 1990. "Efficiency and the Role of Default When Security Markets are Incomplete," UCLA Economics Working Papers 585, UCLA Department of Economics.
- William R. Zame, 1992. "Efficiency and the Role of Default When Security Markets are Incomplete," UCLA Economics Working Papers 673, UCLA Department of Economics.
- Stiglitz, Joseph E & Weiss, Andrew, 1981. "Credit Rationing in Markets with Imperfect Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 393-410, June.
- Smith, Vernon L, 1972. "Default Risk, Scale, and the Homemade Leverage Theorem," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(1), pages 66-76, March. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)