Clearing, transparency, and collateral
Francesca Carapella and
Gaetano Antinolfi ()
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Francesca Carapella: Federal Reserve Board
No 1090, 2014 Meeting Papers from Society for Economic Dynamics
In an environment of Over-The-Counter trading with adverse selection we study traders' incentives to screen their counterparties under different clearing arrangements. When the clearing arrangement is also a choice, traders decide which types of transactions to clear under each arrangement, with signicant consequences for transparency and collateral requirements. The key trade-off is between insurance and the value of information: on one hand risk averse traders want to smooth consumption and on the other hand they want to extract the largest feasible surplus from their counterparties. Choosing an arrangement that provides insurance, however, may prevent them from taking advantage of the private information they learn about their counterparty. In fact, any arrangement involving risk pooling in equilibrium is inconsistent with any costly screening. As a result, insurance comes at the cost of losing transparency: when clearing arrangements differ in the degree of risk sharing they implement, then they also differ in the degree of transparency arising in equilibrium. This has significant consequences on the role of collateral. In environ- ments with limited commitment, collateral plays two roles for risk averse traders: it is a means to discipline incentives and to self-insure at the same time. When insurance is provided by a clearing arrangement that imple- ments risk sharing, collateral is primarily used to discipline incentives, since risk sharing comes at the cost of less information about the limited commitment of the counterparty. The opposite is true in the equilibrium with a clearing arrangement that cannot provide risk sharing but gives traders sufficient incentives to screen their counterparties.
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