Strategic Relationships in Over-the-Counter Markets
This paper provides a theory of dynamic formation of relationships in over-the-counter markets. I show that in equilibrium markets are dealer-centric. Two forces drive the formation of networks of relationships that have a core-periphery structure. First, agents develop enduring relationships to trade risky assets over the counter against no collateral. Unsecured trading is feasible when traders are willing to incur losses in the bad states of the world, provided they are compensated sufficiently in the good states of the world. To enforce such contracts, traders rely on a network of relationships. Second, in a network, some agents may need to intermediate transactions between others and require compensation for it. This explains the emergence of a central broker-dealer that stands as counterparty for all trade.
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