Optimal Institutions in Economies with Private Information: Exclusive Contracts, Taxes, and Bankruptcy Law
In economies with private information, it is typically optimal to prohibit or otherwise discourage a subset of trades that individual agents want to enter. Economists often refer to such optimal distortions as wedges. In this article, we use a simple private-information Mirrleesian economy to, first, show examples of these wedges and, second, discuss institutions that may be used to implement them in practice. We discuss and compare three such institutions: exclusive contracts, taxes, and bankruptcy law. Our analysis underscores the multiplicity of possible implementations and, therefore, the ...
Distortionary taxation for efficient redistribution
This article uses a simple model to review the economic theory of efficient redistributive taxation. The model economy is a Lucas-tree economy, in which income comes from a stock of productive capital. Agents, who own the capital stock, are heterogenous with respect to their preference for early versus late consumption. A competitive capital market, in equilibrium, supports a unique Pareto-efficient allocation of consumption among the agents, i.e., the First Welfare Theorem holds. The equilibrium allocation represents one efficient division of the total gains from trade that are available in ...
Saving for Retirement with Job Loss Risk
This article studies a tractable theoretical model of optimal consumption and saving decisions with endogenous retirement. Particular attention is paid to the impact of an increase in the risk of losing one?s job on the optimal path of consumption and wealth accumulation. Even if one does not actually lose their job, an increase in the risk of a job loss is by itself sufficient to cause lower consumption, higher saving, and, through faster retirement, lower labor supply.
Optimal nonlinear income taxation with costly tax avoidance
Opinion : When disclosure is not enough
Systemic risk regulation and the "too big to fail" problem
A single regulator tasked with preventing threats to systemic stability would need to have considerable power and discretion. But creating such a powerful entity could reinforce the moral hazard problem resulting from the idea that some firms are too big to fail.
Pecuniary Externalities, Segregated Exchanges, and Market Liquidity in a Diamond-Dybvig Economy with Retrade
Pecuniary externalities often serve as a rationale for government intervention into financial markets. This article reviews the theory of market provision of liquidity in a Diamond-Dybvig economy and examines whether or not the possibility of retrade leads to pecuniary externalities and market failure. The answer hinges on the credibility of market participants' commitment to not enter into hidden transactions with non-participants. If such commitment is not credible, then unrestricted, hidden retrade leads to a pecuniary externality and market under-provision of liquidity. If such commitment ...
Optimal Contracts with Reflection
In this paper, we show that whenever the agent's outside option is nonzero, the optimal contract in the continuous-time principal-agent model of Sannikov (2008) is reflective at the lower bound. This means the agent is never terminated or retired after poor performance. Instead, the agent is asked to put zero effort temporarily, which brings his continuation value up. The agent is then asked to resume effort, and the contract continues. We show that a nonzero agent's outside option arises endogenously if the agent is allowed to quit and find a new firm (after a random search time of finite ...
Cyclical Properties of Bank Margins: Small versus Large Banks
We study cyclical properties of the net interest margin (NIM) in the US banking sector in the aggregate as well as separately for small and large banks. In the aggregate and among large banks, NIM is countercyclical. Among small banks, however, NIM is procyclical. Further, we find that this result is driven by differences in the cyclical dynamics of small and large banks' funding costs rather than asset yields.
Optimal Liquidity Regulation With Shadow Banking
We study the impact of shadow banking on optimal liquidity regulations in a Diamond-Dybvig maturity mismatch environment. A pecuniary externality arising out of the banks' access to private retrade renders competitive equilibrium inefficient. Shadow banking provides an outside option for banks, which adds a new constraint in the mechanism design problem that determines the optimal allocation. A tax on illiquid assets and a subsidy to the liquid asset similar to the payment of interest on reserves (IOR) constitute an optimal liquidity regulation policy in this economy. During expansions, i.e., ...