Innovations, Rents and Risk
40 Pages Posted: 9 Nov 2012
Date Written: October 31, 2012
We offer a rational expectations model of the dynamics of innovative industries. The fundamental value of innovations is uncertain and one must learn whether they are solid or fragile. Also, when the industry is new, it is difficult to monitor managers and make sure they exert the effort necessary to reduce default risk. This gives rise to moral hazard. In this context, initial successes spur optimism and growth. But increasingly confident managers end up requesting large rents. If these become too high, investors give up on incentives, and default risk rises. Thus, moral hazard gives rise to endogenous crises and fat tails in the distribution of aggregate default risk. Our model fits the stylized facts of the MBS’s industry bust and boom in the first decade of this century.
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