Collateral Versus Project Screening: A Model of Lazy Banks
Posted: 19 Nov 2001
Many economists argue that the primary economic function of banks is to provide cheap credit, and to facilitate this function, they advocate the strict protection of creditor rights. But banks can serve another important economic function: by screening projects they can reduce the number of project failures and thus mitigate their private and social costs. In this article we show that because of market imperfections in the banking industry, strong creditor protection may lead to market equilibria in which cheap credit is inappropriately emphasized over project screening. Restrictions on collateral requirements and the protection of debtors in bankruptcy may redress this imbalance and increase credit-market efficiency.
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