Bridge over ocean
1 March 2000 Financial Analysts Journal Volume 56, Issue 2

Symmetrical Information and Credit Rationing: Graphical Demonstrations

  1. Hung-Jen Wang

As this article shows, the pro-debtor U.S. Bankruptcy Code alone can cause credit rationing, even without asymmetrical information in the market, because the code entails substantial costs to lenders if borrowers file for bankruptcy. In the absence of bankruptcy cost, lenders are always justified in raising interest rates and clearing markets. If the bankruptcy cost is nontrivial, however, lenders' profits are concave in the relevant range of interest rates. Thus, lenders cannot always clear the market by using higher rates. The study reported here also found that the use of collateral in debt contracts can reduce rationing but that even 100 percent collateral does not eliminate all rationing possibilities. A positive relationship was found between credit risk and the amount of pledged collateral, which is not necessarily true with models based on asymmetrical information.

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