Moral Hazard and the Optimality of Debt
Review of Economic Studies, 2018, vol. 85, issue 4, 2214-2252
I show that, in a benchmark model, debt securities minimize the welfare losses associated with the moral hazards of excessive risk-taking and lax effort. For any security design, the variance of the security payoff is a statistic that summarizes these welfare losses. Debt securities have the least variance, among all limited liability securities with the same expected value. In other models, mixtures of debt and equity are exactly optimal, and pure debt securities are approximately optimal. I study both static and dynamic security design problems, and show that these two types of problems are equivalent. I use moral hazard in mortgage lending as a recurring example, but my results apply to other corporate finance and principal-agent problems.
Keywords: Security design; Moral hazard; Optimal contracts (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D86 G32 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations Track citations by RSS feed
Downloads: (external link)
Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.
Export reference: BibTeX
RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan)
Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:oup:restud:v:85:y:2018:i:4:p:2214-2252.
Access Statistics for this article
Review of Economic Studies is currently edited by Andrea Prat, Bruno Biais, Kjetil Storesletten and Enrique Sentana
More articles in Review of Economic Studies from Oxford University Press
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Oxford University Press ().