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Adverse Selection and Risk Aversion in Capital Markets

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We generalize Boadway and Keen's model of adverse selection in capital markets to allow for risk aversion on the part of entrepreneurs. We use the new model to analyze two types of policies. We first consider policies that would allow entrepreneurs to use a greater fraction of their total wealth in financing their projects, thus allowing them to reduce reliance on debt or equity finance by outside investors. We show that such policies may not be welfare-improving, because they expose entrepreneurs to more downside risk. This result highlights the importance of allowing for risk aversion, since policies that aim at alleviating inefficiencies associated with adverse selection may increase risk exposure and ultimately reduce welfare. We then consider how the tax treatment of losses affects social welfare. We show that if a society places a high value on distributional equity or if entrepreneurs are sufficiently risk-averse, a full-loss-offset system may be desirable even when there is excessive investment.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 December 2011

More about this publication?
  • As one of the world's oldest professional journals in public finance, founded in 1884, FinanzArchiv (FA) publishes original work from all fields of public economics which are of interest to an international readership, e.g. taxation, public debt, public goods, public choice, federalism, market failure, social policy, and the welfare state. Special emphasis is on high-quality theoretical and empirical papers on current policy issues.

    FA is a peer-reviewed journal commited to a prompt turnaround of submissions.

    FA is listed in the Social Science Citation Index (SSCI), in Current Contents/Social and Behavioral Sciences, in Econ Lit, in the Journal of Economic Literature, in IDEAS and RePEc and in the International Bibliography of the Social Sciences.

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