Environmental Risk: Should Banks Be Liable?
This paper studies the impact of banks' liability for environmental damages caused by their borrowers. Laws or court decisions that declare banks liable for environmental damages have two objectives : (1) finding someone to pay for the damages and (2) exerting a pressure on a firm's stakeholders to incite them to invest in environmental risk prevention. We study the effect that such legal decisions can have on financing relationships and especially on the incentives to reduce environmental risk in an environment where banks cannot commit to refinance the firm in all circumstances. Following an environmental accident, liable banks more readily agree to refinance the firm. We then show that bank liability effectively makes refinancing more attractive to banks, therefore improving the firm's risk-sharing possibilities. Consequently, the firm's incentives to invest in environmental risk reduction are weakened compared to the (bank) no-liability case. We also show that, when banks are liable, the firm invests at the full-commitment optimal level of risk reduction investment. If there are some externalities such that some damages cannot be accounted for, the socially efficient level of investment is greater than the privately optimal one. in that case, making banks non-liable can be socially desirable.
|Date of creation:||1998|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: CP 6128, Succ. Centre-Ville, Montréal, Québec, H3C 3J7|
Phone: (514) 343-6540
Fax: (514) 343-5831
Web page: http://www.sceco.umontreal.ca
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Jonathan Thomas & Tim Worrall, 1988. "Self-Enforcing Wage Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 55(4), pages 541-554.
- Boyer, M. & Laffont, J.J., 1995.
"Environmental Risks and Bank Liability,"
Cahiers de recherche
9501, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
- Marcel Boyer & Jean-Jacques Laffont, 1994. "Environmental Risks and Bank Liability," CIRANO Working Papers 94s-22, CIRANO.
- Boyer, M. & Laffont, J.J., 1995. "Environmental Risks and Bank Liability," Cahiers de recherche 9501, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
- Boyer, Marcel & Laffont, Jean-Jacques, 1994. "Environmental Risks and Bank Liability," IDEI Working Papers 45, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
- T. Randolph Beard, 1990. "Bankruptcy and Care Choice," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 21(4), pages 626-634, Winter.
- Segerson, Kathleen & Tietenberg, Tom, 1992. "The structure of penalties in environmental enforcement: An economic analysis," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 179-200, September.
- Weitzman Martin L., 1994.
"On the Environmental Discount Rate,"
Journal of Environmental Economics and Management,
Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 200-209, March.
- Weitzman, M.L., 1993. "On the 'Environmental' Discount Rate," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1625, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
- Marcel Boyer & Jean-Jacques Laffont, 1995.
"Environmental Protection, Producer Insolvency and Lender Liability,"
CIRANO Working Papers
- BOYER, Marcel, 1995. "Environmental Protection Producer Insolvency and Lender Liability," Cahiers de recherche 9557, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
- Segerson Kathleen, 1993. "Liability Transfers: An Economic Assessment of Buyer and Lender Liability," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages S46-S63, July.
- Pitchford, Rohan, 1995. "How Liable Should a Lender Be? The Case of Judgment-Proof Firms and Environmental Risk," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1171-86, December.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:mtl:montde:9808. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Sharon BREWER)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.