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Accelerated Investment and Credit Risk under a Low Interest Rate Environment: A Real Options Approach

  • Tetsuya Yamada

    (Deputy Director and Economist, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan (E-mail: tetsuya.yamada@boj.or.jp))

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    Empirical studies have found that a low interest rate environment accelerates firmsf investment and debt financing, leading to subsequent balance sheet problems in many countries in recent years. We examine the mechanism whereby firmfs debt financing and investment become more accelerated and the credit risk rises under a low interest rate environment from the perspective of a real options model. We find that firms tend to increase debt financing and investment not only under strong expectations of continued low interest rates but also when there are expectations of future interest rate increases, and such behavior causes higher credit risk. We also find that when future interest rate rises are expected, the investment decisions vary depending on how firms incorporate the possibility of future interest rises. Specifically, myopic firms make glast-minute investmentsh based on concerns over future interest rate hikes and this behavior increases their credit risk. In contrast, economically rational firms choose to decrease their investments, carefully considering the likelihood of future interest rate hikes.

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    File URL: http://www.imes.boj.or.jp/research/papers/english/10-E-08.pdf
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    Paper provided by Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan in its series IMES Discussion Paper Series with number 10-E-08.

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    Date of creation: Jun 2010
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    Handle: RePEc:ime:imedps:10-e-08
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    1. Zhdanov, Alexei, 2007. "Competitive Equilibrium with Debt," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 42(03), pages 709-734, September.
    2. Takashi Shibata & Tetsuya Yamada, 2009. "Dynamic Model of Credit Risk in Relationship Lending: A Game- theoretic Real Options Approach," IMES Discussion Paper Series 09-E-07, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan.
    3. Pierre Mella-Barral & William R M Perraudin, 1993. "Strategic Debt Service," CEPR Financial Markets Paper 0039, European Science Foundation Network in Financial Markets, c/o C.E.P.R, 77 Bastwick Street, London EC1V 3PZ..
    4. Okina, Kunio & Shirakawa, Masaaki & Shiratsuka, Shigenori, 2001. "The Asset Price Bubble and Monetary Policy: Japan's Experience in the Late 1980s and the Lessons: Background Paper," Monetary and Economic Studies, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan, vol. 19(S1), pages 395-450, February.
    5. Hoshi, Takeo, 2001. "What Happened to Japanese Banks?," Monetary and Economic Studies, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan, vol. 19(1), pages 1-29, February.
    6. Suresh Sundaresan & Neng Wang, 2007. "Investment under Uncertainty with Strategic Debt Service," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 256-261, May.
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