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The Paradox of Liquidity

  • STEWART C. MYERS
  • RAGHURAM G. RAJAN

The more liquid a firm's assets, the greater their value in a short-notice liquidation. It is generally thought that a firm should find it easier to raise external finance against more liquid assets. This paper focuses on the dark side of liquidity: greater asset liquidity reduces the firm's ability to commit to a specific course of action. As a result, greater asset liquidity can, in some circumstances, reduce the firm's capacity to raise external finance. Firms with "excessively" liquid assets are in the best position to finance illiquid projects. This leads us to a theory of financial intermediation and disintermediation based on the liquidity of assets. © 2000 the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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Paper provided by Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago in its series CRSP working papers with number 339.

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Date of creation: Aug 1998
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Handle: RePEc:wop:chispw:339
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  1. Myers, Stewart C., 1977. "Determinants of corporate borrowing," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 147-175, November.
  2. Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1992. " Liquidation Values and Debt Capacity: A Market Equilibrium Approach," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(4), pages 1343-66, September.
  3. Hart, Oliver & Moore, John, 1994. "A Theory of Debt Based on the Inalienability of Human Capital," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(4), pages 841-79, November.
  4. Takeo Hoshi & Anil Kashyap & David Scharfstein, 1990. "Bank Monitoring and Investment: Evidence from the Changing Structure of Japanese Corporate Banking Relationships," NBER Chapters, in: Asymmetric Information, Corporate Finance, and Investment, pages 105-126 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  7. Mark J. Flannery, 1991. "Debt maturity and the deadweight cost of leverage: optimally financing banking firms," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Nov.
  8. 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.
  9. Douglas W. Diamond & Philip H. Dybvig, 2000. "Bank runs, deposit insurance, and liquidity," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Win, pages 14-23.
  10. Diamond, Douglas W, 1991. "Debt Maturity Structure and Liquidity Risk," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(3), pages 709-37, August.
  11. Diamond, Douglas W, 1984. "Financial Intermediation and Delegated Monitoring," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(3), pages 393-414, July.
  12. Ramakrishnan, Ram T S & Thakor, Anjan V, 1984. "Information Reliability and a Theory of Financial Intermediation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(3), pages 415-32, July.
  13. Fama, Eugene F., 1985. "What's different about banks?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 29-39, January.
  14. Greenbaum, Stuart I. & Thakor, Anjan V., 1987. "Bank funding modes : Securitization versus deposits," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 379-401, September.
  15. Calomiris, Charles W & Kahn, Charles M, 1991. "The Role of Demandable Debt in Structuring Optimal Banking Arrangements," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(3), pages 497-513, June.
  16. Takeo Hoshi & Anil Kashyap & David Scharfstein, 1989. "Bank monitoring and investment: evidence from the changing structure of Japanese corporate banking relations," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 86, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  17. Huberman, Gur, 1984. " External Financing and Liquidity," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 39(3), pages 895-908, July.
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