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The Paradox of Liquidity

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  • STEWART C. MYERS
  • RAGHURAM G. RAJAN

Abstract

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.
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Suggested Citation

  • Stewart C. Myers & Raghuram G. Rajan, 1998. "The Paradox of Liquidity," CRSP working papers 339, Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.
  • Handle: RePEc:wop:chispw:339
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G20 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - General
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill

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