Financing New Investments under Asymmetric Information: A General Approach
We study the efficiency of credit market equilibria when financial intermediaries cannot observe the riskiness or the returns of potential investment projects. With loan financing, there is over-investment in high-return, high-risk projects and under-investment in low-return, low-risk projects relative to the social optimum. If firms have the choice of equity finance, there is unambiguously over-investment under reasonable conditions. The well-known cases of Stiglitz and Weiss and of de Meza and Webb emerge as special cases. The results are extended to allow for signaling and screening equilibria.
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