IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Dynamic adverse selection and debt


  • Gilles Chemla
  • Antoine Faure Grimaud


This paper argues that the strategic use of debt favours the revelation of information in dynamic adverse selection problems. Our argument is based on the idea that debt is a credible commitment to end long term relationships. Consequently, debt encourages a privately informed party to disclose its information at early stages of a relationship. We illustrate our point with the financing decision of a monopolist selling a good to a buyer whose valuation is private information. A high level of (renegotiable) debt, by increasing the scope for liquidation, may induce the high valuation buyer to buy early at a high price and thus increase the monopolist's expected payoff. By affecting the buyer's strategy, it may reduce the probability of excessive liquidation. We investigate the consequences of good durability and we examine the way debt may alleviate the ratchet effect.

Suggested Citation

  • Gilles Chemla & Antoine Faure Grimaud, 1996. "Dynamic adverse selection and debt," Economics Working Papers 196, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Dec 1996.
  • Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:196

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: Whole Paper
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Drew Fudenberg & David K. Levine & Jean Tirole, 1987. "Incomplete Information Bargaining with Outside Opportunities," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 102(1), pages 37-50.
    2. Myers, Stewart C. & Majluf, Nicholas S., 1984. "Corporate financing and investment decisions when firms have information that investors do not have," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 187-221, June.
    3. Hart, O. & Moore, J., 1989. "Default And Renegotiation: A Dynamic Model Of Debt," Working papers 520, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    4. Bolton, Patrick & Scharfstein, David S, 1990. "A Theory of Predation Based on Agency Problems in Financial Contracting," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 93-106, March.
    5. Patrick Bolton & David S Scharfstein, 1993. "Optimal Debt Structure with Multiple Creditors," CEPR Financial Markets Paper 0032, European Science Foundation Network in Financial Markets, c/o C.E.P.R, 77 Bastwick Street, London EC1V 3PZ..
    6. Jensen, Michael C. & Meckling, William H., 1976. "Theory of the firm: Managerial behavior, agency costs and ownership structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 305-360, October.
    7. Xavier Freixas & Roger Guesnerie & Jean Tirole, 1985. "Planning under Incomplete Information and the Ratchet Effect," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 52(2), pages 173-191.
    8. Perotti, Enrico C & Spier, Kathryn E, 1993. "Capital Structure as a Bargaining Tool: The Role of Leverage in Contract Renegotiation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1131-1141, December.
    9. Sanford J. Grossman & Oliver D. Hart, 1982. "Corporate Financial Structure and Managerial Incentives," NBER Chapters,in: The Economics of Information and Uncertainty, pages 107-140 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Jensen, Michael C, 1986. "Agency Costs of Free Cash Flow, Corporate Finance, and Takeovers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(2), pages 323-329, May.
    11. Myers, Stewart C. & Majluf, Nicolás S., 1945-, 1984. "Corporate financing and investment decisions when firms have information that investors do not have," Working papers 1523-84., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
    12. Harris, Milton & Raviv, Artur, 1991. " The Theory of Capital Structure," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 46(1), pages 297-355, March.
    13. Titman, Sheridan, 1984. "The effect of capital structure on a firm's liquidation decision," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 137-151, March.
    14. Eric Maskin & John Riley, 1984. "Monopoly with Incomplete Information," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(2), pages 171-196, Summer.
    15. Oliver D. Hart & Jean Tirole, 1988. "Contract Renegotiation and Coasian Dynamics," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 55(4), pages 509-540.
    16. Harris, Milton & Raviv, Artur, 1990. " Capital Structure and the Informational Role of Debt," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 45(2), pages 321-349, June.
    17. Coase, Ronald H, 1972. "Durability and Monopoly," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages 143-149, April.
    18. Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Tirole, Jean, 1988. "The Dynamics of Incentive Contracts," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(5), pages 1153-1175, September.
    19. Wruck, Karen Hopper, 1994. "Financial policy, internal control, and performance Sealed Air Corporation's leveraged special dividend," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 157-192, October.
    20. Jensen, Michael C, 1988. "Takeovers: Their Causes and Consequences," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 2(1), pages 21-48, Winter.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Sofiane Aboura & Emmanuel Lépinette, 2015. "Do banks satisfy the Modigliani-Miller theorem?," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 35(2), pages 924-935.
    2. repec:dau:papers:123456789/13839 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:dau:papers:123456789/6359 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. João Teixeira, 2014. "Outsourcing with debt financing," Portuguese Economic Journal, Springer;Instituto Superior de Economia e Gestao, vol. 13(1), pages 1-24, April.
    5. Chemla, Gilles, 2004. "Takeovers and the dynamics of information flows," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 575-590, April.
    6. Arping, Stefan & Diaw, Khaled M., 2008. "Sunk costs, entry deterrence, and financial constraints," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 490-501, March.
    7. Usman, Murat, 2008. "Commitment with renegotiable debt contracts and verifiable cash flow," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 99(2), pages 249-251, May.
    8. Arping, Stefan, 2005. "Protective interests and creative destruction," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 14(4), pages 401-431, October.

    More about this item


    Dynamic adverse selection; durable good; ratchet effect; renegotiation; financial constraint; debt;

    JEL classification:

    • D42 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Monopoly
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:196. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.