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Illiquidity and Under-Valuation of Firms

  • Douglas Gale
  • Piero Gottardi

We study a competitive model in which market incompleteness implies that debt-financed firms may default in some states of nature and default may lead to the sale of the firms’ assets at fire sale prices when markets are illiquid. This incompleteness is the only friction in the model and the only cost of default. The anticipation of such losses alone may distort .rms.investment decisions. We characterize the conditions under which fire sales occur in equilibrium and their consequences on firms' investment decisions. We also show that endogenous financial crises may arise in this environment, with asset prices collapsing as a result of pure self-fulfilling beliefs. Finally, we examine alternative interventions to restore the efficiency of equilibria.

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Paper provided by European University Institute in its series Economics Working Papers with number ECO2009/38.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:eui:euiwps:eco2009/38
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  1. Timothy J Kehoe & David K Levine, 1993. "Debt Constrained Asset Markets," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1276, David K. Levine.
  2. Franklin Allen & Douglas Gale, 2004. "Financial Intermediaries and Markets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(4), pages 1023-1061, 07.
  3. Bengt Holmström, 2001. "LAPM: A Liquidity-Based Asset Pricing Model," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(5), pages 1837-1867, October.
  4. Douglas W. Diamond & Raghuram G. Rajan, 1999. "Liquidity Risk, Liquidity Creation and Financial Fragility: A Theory of Banking," NBER Working Papers 7430, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. P. Dubey & J. Geanakoplos & M . Shubik, 2001. "Default and Punishment in General Equilibrium," Department of Economics Working Papers 01-07, Stony Brook University, Department of Economics.
  6. Bengt Holmstrom & Jean Tirole, 1994. "Financial Intermediation, Loanable Funds and the Real Sector," Working papers 95-1, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  7. Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1992. " Liquidation Values and Debt Capacity: A Market Equilibrium Approach," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(4), pages 1343-66, September.
  8. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver D, 1979. "A Theory of Competitive Equilibrium in Stock Market Economies," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 293-329, March.
  9. Douglas W. Diamond & Raghuram G. Rajan, 2000. "A Theory of Bank Capital," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(6), pages 2431-2465, December.
  10. Franklin Allen & Douglas Gale, 1998. "Optimal Financial Crises," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 53(4), pages 1245-1284, 08.
  11. Douglas W. Diamond & Raghuram G. Rajan, 2005. "Liquidity Shortages and Banking Crises," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(2), pages 615-647, 04.
  12. Hart, Oliver D, 1979. "On Shareholder Unanimity in Large Stock Market Economies," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(5), pages 1057-83, September.
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