On the Use of Collateral
This paper surveys existing explanations for the use of collateral in credit markets and relates them to the empirical evidence on the subject. Collateral may be used as a screening or an incentive device in markets characterized by various forms of asymmetric and biased information. The evidence is incompatible with the use of collateral as a signal of projects' quality, while broadly consistent with explanations based on its incentive properties and asymmetric evaluation of projects.
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