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Should derivatives be privileged in bankruptcy?


  • Bolton, Patrick
  • Oehmke, Martin


Derivatives enjoy special status in bankruptcy: they are exempt from the automatic stay and effectively senior to virtually all other claims. We propose a corporate finance model to assess the effect of these exemptions on a firm's cost of borrowing and incentives to engage in derivative transactions. While derivatives are value‐enhancing risk management tools, seniority for derivatives can lead to inefficiencies: it transfers credit risk to debtholders, even though this risk is borne more efficiently in the derivative market. Seniority for derivatives is efficient only if it provides sufficient cross‐netting benefits to derivative counterparties that provide hedging services.

Suggested Citation

  • Bolton, Patrick & Oehmke, Martin, 2015. "Should derivatives be privileged in bankruptcy?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 84512, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:84512

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Paul Povel & Michael Raith, 2004. "Optimal Debt with Unobservabable Investments," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 35(3), pages 599-616, Autumn.
    2. Faure-Grimaud, Antoine, 2000. "Product market competition and optimal debt contracts: The limited liability effect revisited," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(10), pages 1823-1840, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Martynova, Natalya & Ratnovski, Lev & Vlahu, Razvan, 2020. "Bank profitability, leverage constraints, and risk-taking," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 44(C).
    2. Michael D. Bordo & John V. Duca, 2020. "How New Fed Corporate Bond Programs Dampened the Financial Accelerator in the Covid-19 Recession," NBER Working Papers 28097, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Quang Nguyen & Trang Kim & Marina Papanastassiou, 2018. "Policy uncertainty, derivatives use, and firm-level FDI," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 49(1), pages 96-126, January.
    4. Mark Wright, 2018. "The Seniority Structure of Sovereign Debt," 2018 Meeting Papers 928, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    5. Ghamami, Samim & Glasserman, Paul & Young, Hobart, 2021. "Collateralized networks," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 107496, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    6. Donaldson, Jason Roderick & Gromb, Denis & Piacentino, Giorgia, 2020. "The paradox of pledgeability," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 137(3), pages 591-605.
    7. Donaldson, Jason Roderick & Micheler, Eva, 2018. "Resaleable debt and systemic risk," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 127(3), pages 485-504.
    8. Pascal François & Weiyu Jiang, 2019. "Credit Value Adjustment with Market-implied Recovery," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer;Western Finance Association, vol. 56(2), pages 145-166, October.
    9. Vuillemey, Guillaume & Peltonen, Tuomas A., 2015. "Disentangling the bond–CDS nexus: A stress test model of the CDS market," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 32-45.
    10. Jason Donaldson & Denis Gromb & Giorgia Piacentino, 2019. "Conflicting Priorities: A Theory of Covenants and Collateral," 2019 Meeting Papers 157, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    11. Park, Hyejin, 2021. "Collateral reuse, collateral mismatch, and financial crises," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 367-380.
    12. Spiros Bougheas & Alan Kirman, 2016. "Bank Insolvencies, Priority Claims and Systemic Risk," Lecture Notes in Economics and Mathematical Systems, in: Pasquale Commendatore & Mariano Matilla-García & Luis M. Varela & Jose S. Cánovas (ed.), Complex Networks and Dynamics, pages 195-208, Springer.
    13. Park, Hyejin & Kahn, Charles M., 2019. "Collateral, rehypothecation, and efficiency," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 34-46.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F3 - International Economics - - International Finance
    • G3 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance


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