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Special Purpose Vehicles and Securitization

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  • Gary Gorton
  • Nicholas Souleles

Abstract

Firms can finance themselves on- or off-balance sheet. Off-balance sheet financing involves transferring assets to "special purpose vehicles" (SPVs), following accounting and regulatory rules that circumscribe relations between the sponsoring firm and the SPVs. SPVs are carefully designed to avoid bankruptcy. If the firm's bankruptcy costs are high, off-balance sheet financing can be advantageous, especially for sponsoring firms that are risky. In a repeated SPV game, firms can "commit" to subsidize or "bail out" their SPVs when the SPV would otherwise not honor its debt commitments. Investors in SPVs know that, despite legal and accounting restrictions to the contrary, SPV sponsors can bail out their SPVs if there is the need. We find evidence consistent with these predictions using data on credit card securitizations.

Suggested Citation

  • Gary Gorton & Nicholas Souleles, 2005. "Special Purpose Vehicles and Securitization," NBER Working Papers 11190, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11190
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. James W. Friedman, 1971. "A Non-cooperative Equilibrium for Supergames," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(1), pages 1-12.
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    7. Charles Calomiris & Joseph Mason, 2004. "Credit Card Securitization and Regulatory Arbitrage," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer;Western Finance Association, vol. 26(1), pages 5-27, August.
    8. Lillian F. Mills & Kaye J. Newberry, 2005. "Firms' Off-Balance Sheet and Hybrid Debt Financing: Evidence from Their Book-Tax Reporting Differences," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(2), pages 251-282, May.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G3 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance
    • G2 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services
    • E5 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit
    • K2 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law

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