A good paper and model of (part of) the financial crisis

From Gary B. Gorton and Guillermo Ordonez (pdf):

Short-term collateralized debt, private money, is efficient if agents are willing to lend without producing costly information about the collateral backing the debt. When the economy relies on such informationally-insensitive debt, firms with low quality collateral can borrow, generating a credit boom and an increase in output. Financial fragility builds up over time as information about counterparties decays. A crisis occurs when a small shock causes agents to suddenly have incentives to produce information, leading to a decline in output. A social planner would produce more information than private agents, but would not always want to eliminate fragility.


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