Consequences of Debt Forgiveness: Strategic Default Contagion and Lender Learning

Posted: 3 Jul 2019

See all articles by Gerardo Perez Cavazos

Gerardo Perez Cavazos

University of California, San Diego (UCSD)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: June 1, 2019

Abstract

I use a unique data set of loans to small business owners to examine whether lenders face adverse consequences when they grant debt forgiveness to borrowers. I provide evidence consistent with borrowers communicating their debt forgiveness to other borrowers, who then more frequently strategically default on their own obligations. This strategic default contagion is economically large. When the lender doubles debt forgiveness, the default rate increases by 10.9% on average. Using an exogenous shock to the lender's forgiveness policy, my findings suggest that as the lender learns about the extent of borrower communication the lender tightens its debt forgiveness policy to mitigate default contagion.

Keywords: debt forgiveness; contracting; strategic default contagion; learning

JEL Classification: D10; D83; G21; M41

Suggested Citation

Perez Cavazos, Gerardo, Consequences of Debt Forgiveness: Strategic Default Contagion and Lender Learning (June 1, 2019). Journal of Accounting Research, Vol. 57, No. 3, 2019, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3413802

Gerardo Perez Cavazos (Contact Author)

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, CA 92093
United States

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