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Bailouts, time inconsistency, and optimal regulation

  • V.V. Chari
  • Patrick J. Kehoe
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    We develop a model in which, in order to provide managerial incentives, it is optimal to have costly bankruptcy. If benevolent governments can commit to their policies, it is optimal not to interfere with private contracts. Such policies are time inconsistent in the sense that, without commitment, governments have incentives to bail out firms by buying up the debt of distressed firms and renegotiating their contracts with managers. From an ex ante perspective, however, such bailouts are costly because they worsen incentives and thereby reduce welfare. We show that regulation in the form of limits on the debt-to-value ratio of firms mitigates the time-inconsistency problem by eliminating the incentives of governments to undertake bailouts. In terms of the cyclical properties of regulation, we show that regulation should be tightest in ag-gregate states in which resources lost to bankruptcy in the equilibrium without a government are largest.

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    Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis in its series Staff Report with number 481.

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    Date of creation: 2013
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    Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmsr:481
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    1. Farhi, Emmanuel & Tirole, Jean, 2009. "Collective Moral Hazard, Maturity Mismatch and Systemic Bailouts," TSE Working Papers 09-052, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE), revised Oct 2010.
    2. Bianchi, Javier, 2009. "Overborrowing and Systemic Externalities in the Business Cycle," MPRA Paper 16270, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Calvo, Guillermo A, 1988. "Servicing the Public Debt: The Role of Expectations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 647-61, September.
    4. Enrique Mendoza & Javier Bianchi, 2010. "Overborrowing, financial crises and ‘macro-prudential’ taxes," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Oct.
    5. Mailath George J. & Mester Loretta J., 1994. "A Positive Analysis of Bank Closure," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 3(3), pages 272-299, June.
    6. Huberto M. Ennis & Todd Keister, 2009. "Bank Runs and Institutions: The Perils of Intervention," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(4), pages 1588-1607, September.
    7. Douglas W. Diamond & Philip H. Dybvig, 2000. "Bank runs, deposit insurance, and liquidity," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Win, pages 14-23.
    8. Mookherjee, Dilip & Png, Ivan, 1989. "Optimal Auditing, Insurance, and Redistribution," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 104(2), pages 399-415, May.
    9. Emmanuel Farhi & Mikhail Golosov & Aleh Tsyvinski, 2006. "A Theory of Liquidity and Regulation of Financial Intermediation," Levine's Bibliography 321307000000000326, UCLA Department of Economics.
    10. Todd Keister, 2010. "Bailouts and financial fragility," Staff Reports 473, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    11. Viral Acharya & Tanju Yorulmazer, 2007. "Too many to fail - an analysis of time-inconsistency in bank closure policies," Bank of England working papers 319, Bank of England.
    12. Fudenberg, Drew & Tirole, Jean, 1990. "Moral Hazard and Renegotiation in Agency Contracts," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(6), pages 1279-1319, November.
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