Financing from Family and Friends

53 Pages Posted: 30 Jun 2012 Last revised: 27 Oct 2014

See all articles by Samuel Lee

Samuel Lee

Santa Clara University - Leavey School of Business; European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI); Swedish House of Finance

Petra Persson

Stanford University; Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: June 2012


Financing from family and friends is the predominant type of informal finance. This paper proposes a theory that reconciles two seemingly paradoxical traits of this form of finance, namely, it is often provided at negative prices but nevertheless eschewed by borrowers. A central prediction is that such finance, while breeding trust, deters risk taking. Demand is thus constrained: entrepreneurs may forgo risky investment rather than finance it through family and friends. Formal finance is valuable precisely because it is regulated only by contract. The highlighted trade-offs between formal and informal finance are potentially relevant for the provision of microventure capital.

Suggested Citation

Lee, Samuel and Persson, Petra, Financing from Family and Friends (June 2012). NYU Working Paper No. 2451/31577, Available at SSRN:

Samuel Lee (Contact Author)

Santa Clara University - Leavey School of Business

500 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA California 95053
United States

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI) ( email )

c/o the Royal Academies of Belgium
Rue Ducale 1 Hertogsstraat
1000 Brussels

Swedish House of Finance ( email )

Drottninggatan 98
111 60 Stockholm

Petra Persson

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN) ( email )

Box 55665
Grevgatan 34, 2nd floor
Stockholm, SE-102 15

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