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Finite-Life, Private-Information Theory of Unsecured Debt

Author

Listed:
  • Satyajit Chatterjee

    () (Research Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia)

  • Dean Corbae
  • Jose-Victor Rios-Rull

Abstract

We propose a theory of unsecured debt that is based on the existence of private information about a person's type and on the fact that some debtors have the incentive to forego bankruptcy in order to signal their type. The theory formalizes the idea that the type of a person is relevant to trading partners in many exchange situations and by resisting opportunistic behavior in one exchange context, a person may signal valuable information about his type to trading partners in other exchange contexts. In the model, by resisting opportunistic behavior in the credit market borrowers can signal their type to the insurance market. The model is consistent with the observation that insurers use credit scores to predict the likelihood of a person filing insurance claims.

Suggested Citation

  • Satyajit Chatterjee & Dean Corbae & Jose-Victor Rios-Rull, 2006. "Finite-Life, Private-Information Theory of Unsecured Debt," 2006 Meeting Papers 781, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:sed006:781
    as

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    File URL: http://repec.org/sed2006/up.28765.1140044414.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Cole, Harold L & Dow, James & English, William B, 1995. "Default, Settlement, and Signalling: Lending Resumption in a Reputational Model of Sovereign Debt," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 36(2), pages 365-385, May.
    2. Diamond, Douglas W, 1989. "Reputation Acquisition in Debt Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(4), pages 828-862, August.
    3. Cole, Harold L & Kehoe, Patrick J, 1998. "Models of Sovereign Debt: Partial versus General Reputations," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(1), pages 55-70, February.
    4. Wilson, Charles, 1977. "A model of insurance markets with incomplete information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 167-207, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Adverse Selection; Insurance; Credit Scores; Default Risk;

    JEL classification:

    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • D52 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - Incomplete Markets
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design

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