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Adverse Selection and Self-fulfilling Business Cycles

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  • Jess Benhabib
  • Feng Dong
  • Pengfei Wang

Abstract

We introduce a simple adverse selection problem arising in credit markets into a standard textbook real business cycle model. There is a continuum of households and a continuum of anonymous producers who produce the final goods from intermediate goods. These producers do not have the resources to make up-front payments to purchase inputs and must do so by borrowing from competitive financial intermediates. However, lending to these producers is risky: honest borrowers will always pay off their debt, but dishonest borrowers will always default. This gives rise to an adverse selection problem for financial intermediaries. In a continuous-time real business cycle setting we show that such adverse selection generates multiple steady states and both local and global indeterminacy, and can give rise to equilibria with probabilistic jumps in credit, consumption, investment and employment driven by Markov sunspots under calibrated parameterizations and fully rational expectations. Introducing reputational effects eliminates defaults and results in a unique but still indeterminate steady state. Finally we generalize the model to firms with heterogeneous and stochastic productivity, and show that indeterminacies and sunspots persist.

Suggested Citation

  • Jess Benhabib & Feng Dong & Pengfei Wang, 2014. "Adverse Selection and Self-fulfilling Business Cycles," NBER Working Papers 20642, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:20642
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    Cited by:

    1. Feng Dong & Pengfei Wang & Yi Wen, 2016. "Credit search and credit cycles," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 61(2), pages 215-239, February.
    2. Feng Dong & Pengfei Wang & Yi Wen, 2016. "Credit search and credit cycles," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 61(2), pages 215-239, February.
    3. repec:spr:joecth:v:66:y:2018:i:3:d:10.1007_s00199-017-1046-z is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Gilbert Mbaraa & Ryszard Kokoszczyński, 2018. "Corporate governance, tax evasion and business cycles," Working Papers 2018-10, Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw.
    5. Bruce McGough & Ryuichi Nakagawa, 2019. "Stability of Sunspot Equilibria under Adaptive Learning with Imperfect Information," Working Papers on Central Bank Communication 005, University of Tokyo, Graduate School of Economics.
    6. Duarte, Fernando M. & Zabai, Anna, 2015. "An interest rate rule to uniquely implement the optimal equilibrium in a liquidity trap," Staff Reports 745, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises

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