On strategic default and liquidity risk

Tambakis, Demosthenes N (2002)

Working Paper

How does the uncertain provision of external finance affect investment projects' default probability and liquidity risk? In this paper, I study the strategic interaction between many creditors and a single borrower in the context of a two-period investment project requiring external credit. Loans mature in one period but the project requires two periods to complete. The key working assumptions are that creditors are risk-averse and that any uncertainty is common knowledge: information about the fundamentals can be incomplete but not asymmetric. Mixed and perfect Bayesian strategies are used to compute the equilibrium probabilities of default and early liquidation. The impact of the maturity structure on default and liquidity risk is a function of the underlying structural and stochastic parameters and investors' beliefs about the state of fundamentals. The implications for banking regulation are assessed under fixed and variable loan rates. An open range of fundamentals is derived outside of which default and liquidity risk are either zero or one. The cyclical properties of default and liquidity risk are shown to depend sensitively on the relative cost of early liquidation to the borrower and the creditors, hence also on the regulatory policy stance.