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Enforcement, Contract Design, and Default: Exploring the Financial Markets of Costa Rica

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  • Alexander Monge-Naranjo
  • Javier Cascante
  • Luis J. Hall

Abstract

This paper examines the institutional determinants of incentives to repay in Costa Rica and their effects on defaults and the design of financial contracts. Enforcement mechanisms help to determine how much is paid back to creditors and how much shareholders receive as dividends. Theoretically, however, the most important effects will be on the observable characteristics of contracts, as rational agents foresee the incentives of other parties. As courts enforce contracts and punish defaulters, they determine the form contracts take and the magnitude and direction of investments. The paper contains findings on the practices of financial intermediaries that are discussed in the context of contract theory, with a focus on the formal financial intermediaries that are scattered throughout the country. Much of the information comes from primary sources, including a sample of almost 1,700 civil trials and a detailed survey on the credit policies of 31 intermediaries. This paper reviews the creditor-borrower relationship at all stages—ex ante, interim, and ex post. The evidence supports the importance of collateral and other ex post repayment incentives. The evidence also suggests that, contrary to the common view, banks are not passive lenders. They remain alert to how well projects perform and rely on previous experience and a rather sophisticated informational network in granting credit.

Suggested Citation

  • Alexander Monge-Naranjo & Javier Cascante & Luis J. Hall, 2001. "Enforcement, Contract Design, and Default: Exploring the Financial Markets of Costa Rica," Research Department Publications 3126, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  • Handle: RePEc:idb:wpaper:3126
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    Cited by:

    1. Gilberto E. Arce & Edgar Robles C., 2005. "Corporate Governance in Costa Rica," Research Department Publications 3218, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    2. Vicente Cuñat, 2009. "Finance for Development: Latin America in a Comparative Perspective. By BARBARA STALLINGS with ROGERIO STUDART," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 76(301), pages 216-217, February.
    3. Straub, Stéphane, 2005. "Informal sector: The credit market channel," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(2), pages 299-321, December.
    4. Gilberto E. Arce & Edgar Robles C., 2005. "Gobierno Corporativo en Costa Rica," Research Department Publications 3219, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    5. Alexander Monge-Naranjo & Luis J. Hall, 2003. "Access to Credit and the Effect of Credit Constraints on Costa Rican Manufacturing Firms," Research Department Publications 3164, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    6. Lance Lochner & Alexander Monge-Naranjo, 2002. "Human Capital Formation with Endogenous Credit Constraints," NBER Working Papers 8815, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Kunieda, Takuma & Shibata, Akihisa, 2011. "Collateral Constraints and Legal Protection of Lenders: A Macroeconomic Perspective," MPRA Paper 35356, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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