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Leverage and Default in Binomial Economies: A Complete Characterization

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Abstract

Our paper provides a complete characterization of leverage and default in binomial economies with financial assets serving as collateral. Our Binomial No-Default Theorem states that any equilibrium is equivalent (in real allocations and prices) to another equilibrium in which there is no default. Thus actual default is irrelevant, though the potential for default drives the equilibrium and limits borrowing. This result is valid with arbitrary preferences and endowments, contingent or non-contingent promises, many assets and consumption goods, production, and multiple periods. We also show that no-default equilibria would be selected if there were the slightest cost of using collateral or handling default. Our Binomial Leverage Theorem shows that equilibrium Loan to Value (LTV ) for non-contingent debt contracts is the ratio of the worst-case return of the asset to the riskless gross rate of interest. In binomial economies leverage is determined by down risk and not by volatility.

Suggested Citation

  • Ana Fostel & John Geanakoplos, 2012. "Leverage and Default in Binomial Economies: A Complete Characterization," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1877R3, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University, revised Mar 2015.
  • Handle: RePEc:cwl:cwldpp:1877r3
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    File URL: http://cowles.yale.edu/sites/default/files/files/pub/d18/d1877-r3.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Stewart C. Myers & Nicholas S. Majluf, 1984. "Corporate Financing and Investment Decisions When Firms Have InformationThat Investors Do Not Have," NBER Working Papers 1396, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Myers, Stewart C. & Majluf, Nicholas S., 1984. "Corporate financing and investment decisions when firms have information that investors do not have," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 187-221, June.
    3. Fostel, Ana & Geanakoplos, John, 2012. "Why does bad news increase volatility and decrease leverage?," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 147(2), pages 501-525.
    4. Ana Fostel & John Geanakoplos, 2012. "Tranching, CDS, and Asset Prices: How Financial Innovation Can Cause Bubbles and Crashes," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 190-225, January.
    5. Dan Vu Cao, 2010. "Collateral Shortages, Asset Price And Investment Volatility With Heterogeneous Beliefs," 2010 Meeting Papers 1233, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    6. 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.
    7. Adrian, Tobias & Boyarchenko, Nina, 2012. "Intermediary leverage cycles and financial stability," Staff Reports 567, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, revised 01 Feb 2015.
    8. Myers, Stewart C. & Majluf, Nicol√°s S., 1945-, 1984. "Corporate financing and investment decisions when firms have information that investors do not have," Working papers 1523-84., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
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    Cited by:

    1. Denis Gromb & Dimitri Vayanos, 2018. "The Dynamics of Financially Constrained Arbitrage," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 73(4), pages 1713-1750, August.
    2. Julien BENGUI & Toan PHAN, 2018. "Asset Pledgeability and Endogenously Leveraged Bubbles," Cahiers de recherche 07-2018, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
    3. Karlis, Alexandros & Galanis, Giorgos & Terovitis, Spyridon & Turner, Matthew, 2015. "Heterogeneity and Clustering of Defaults," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 1083, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    4. Agostino Capponi & W. Allen Cheng & Sriram Rajan, 2015. "Systemic Risk: The Dynamics under Central Clearing," Working Papers 15-08, Office of Financial Research, US Department of the Treasury.
    5. Bengui, Julien & Phan, Toan, 2018. "Asset Pledgeability and Endogenously Leveraged Bubbles," Working Paper 18-11, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
    6. BENGUI, Julien & PHAN, Toan, 2018. "Asset pledgeability and endogenously leveraged bubbles," Cahiers de recherche 2018-04, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Endogenous leverage; Default; Collateral equilibrium; Financial asset; Binomial economy; LTV; Diluted leverage; Down risk;

    JEL classification:

    • D52 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - Incomplete Markets
    • D53 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - Financial Markets
    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates

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