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State subsidy and moral hazard in corporate financing

Edina Berlinger (), Lovas Anita () and Peter Juhasz

Central European Journal of Operations Research, 2017, vol. 25, issue 4, No 2, 743-770

Abstract: Abstract This paper investigates the impact of state subsidy on the behavior of the entrepreneur under asymmetric information. Several authors formulated concerns about state intervention as it can aggravate moral hazard in corporate financing. In the seminal paper of Holmström and Tirole (Q J Econ 112(3):663–691, 1997) a two-player moral hazard model is presented with an entrepreneur initiating a risky scalable project and a private investor (e.g. bank or venture capitalist) providing outside financing. The novelty of our research is that this basic moral hazard model is extended to the case of positive externalities and to three players by introducing the state subsidizing the project. It is shown that in the optimum, state subsidy does not harm, but improves the incentives of the entrepreneur to make efforts for the success of the project; hence in effect state intervention reduces moral hazard. Consequently, state subsidy increases social welfare which is defined as the sum of private and public net benefits. Also, the exact form of the state subsidy (ex-ante/ex-post, conditional/unconditional, refundable/nonrefundable) is irrelevant in respect of the optimal size and the total welfare effect of the project. Moreover, in case of nonrefundable subsidies state does not crowd out private investors; but on the contrary, by providing additional capital it boosts private financing. These results are mainly due to the special mechanism imbedded in our model by which the private investor is able to transform even the badly designed state subsidies into a success fee which is optimal from the incentive point of view.

Keywords: Contract theory; Externalities; Asymmetric information; Crowding out (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D86 G38 H23 H81 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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DOI: 10.1007/s10100-016-0461-8

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