Bank Bailout Menus

43 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2010

See all articles by Sudipto Bhattacharya

Sudipto Bhattacharya

London School of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Kjell G. Nyborg

University of Zurich - Department of Banking and Finance; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); Swiss Finance Institute

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: June 2010


Bailing out banks requires overcoming debt overhang as well as dealing with adverse selection with respect to the quality of banks' balance sheets, in terms of heterogeneity in both the likelihood and extent of their potential shortfalls, of future asset values vis-à-vis contractual debt obligations. We examine bailouts that eliminate debt overhang, while attempting to minimize subsidies to banks' equityholders. When banks do not di ffr with respect to the extent of debt overhang, it can be fully overcome with the minimal amount of subsidies, providing each bank's equity holders no more than their pre-bailout values, with a partial new equity injection, or an asset buyout. When levels of debt overhang co-vary with underlying probabilities of default, we characterize the conditions for attaining a similar minimal subsidy outcome, with a Menu of either equity injection or asset buyout plans, satisfying suitable self-selection constraints among bank types. These involve global rather than local conditions, with multiple intersections of indi fffrence curves among types, and imply strictly greater funds injections than those needed to make existing debt default-free. We also explore the role of coupling asset purchases with providing the bailout agency Options to buy bank equity, to enhance its capture of rents arising from new investments by banks. We compare its performance with equity injections on this dimension, as well as others such as post-bailout stakes held by prior inside equity holders of banks.

Keywords: Bailouts, Debt overhang, Private information, Self-selection, Subsidies

JEL Classification: D82, G01, G28

Suggested Citation

Bhattacharya, Sudipto and Nyborg, Kjell G., Bank Bailout Menus (June 2010). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP7906. Available at SSRN:

Sudipto Bhattacharya (Contact Author)

London School of Economics ( email )

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom
44 171 955 7320 (Phone)
44 171 955 7420 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

United Kingdom

Kjell G. Nyborg

University of Zurich - Department of Banking and Finance ( email )

Plattenstrasse 14
Zürich, 8032
+41 (0)44 634 2980 (Phone)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

United Kingdom

Swiss Finance Institute

c/o University of Geneva
40, Bd du Pont-d'Arve
CH-1211 Geneva 4

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