NBER Working Papers by Andrea L. Eisfeldt

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Working Papers

August 2014Entry and Exit in OTC Derivatives Markets
with Andrew G. Atkeson, Pierre-Olivier Weill: w20416
We develop a parsimonious model to study the equilibrium and socially optimal decisions of banks to enter, trade in, and possibly exit, an OTC market. Although we endow all banks with the same trading technology, banks’ optimal entry and trading decisions endogenously lead to a realistic market structure comprised of dealers and customers with distinct trading patterns. We decompose banks’ entry incentives into incentives to hedge risk and incentives to make intermediation profits. We show that dealer banks enter more than is socially optimal. In the face of large negative shocks, they may also exit more than is socially optimal when markets are not perfectly resilient.
Aggregate Issuance and Savings Waves
with Tyler Muir: w20442
We use firms' decisions in the cross-section about their sources and uses of funds in order to make inferences about the aggregate cost of external finance. The basic intuition is as follows: Firms which raise costly external finance can invest the issuance proceeds in productive capital assets, or in liquid financial assets with a low physical rate of return. If firms raise costly external finance and allocate some of the funds to liquid assets, either the cost of external finance is relatively low, or the total return to liquidity accumulation, including its value as a hedging asset, is particularly high. We construct and estimate a quantitative, dynamic model of firms' financing and savings decisions. We then use the model's predictions for variation in firm policies and implied cross s...
July 2013Measuring the Financial Soundness of U.S. Firms, 1926–2012
with Andrew G. Atkeson, Pierre-Olivier Weill: w19204
Building on the Merton (1974) and Leland (1994) structural models of credit risk, we develop a simple, transparent, and robust method for measuring the financial soundness of individual firms using data on their equity volatility. We use this method to retrace quantitatively the history of firms’ financial soundness during U.S. business cycles over most of the last century. We highlight three main findings. First, the three worst recessions between 1926 and 2012 coincided with insolvency crises, but other recessions did not. Second, fluctuations in asset volatility appear to drive variation in firms’ financial soundness. Finally, the financial soundness of financial firms largely resembles that of nonfinancial firms.
March 2013The Market for OTC Derivatives
with Andrew G. Atkeson, Pierre-Olivier Weill: w18912
We develop a model of equilibrium entry, trade, and price formation in over-the- counter (OTC) markets. Banks trade derivatives to share an aggregate risk subject to two trading frictions: they must pay a fixed entry cost, and they must limit the size of the positions taken by their traders because of risk-management concerns. Although all banks in our model are endowed with access to the same trading technology, some large banks endogenously arise as “dealers,” trading mainly to provide intermediation services, while medium sized banks endogenously participate as “customers” mainly to share risks. We use the model to address positive questions regarding the growth in OTC markets as trading frictions decline, and normative questions of how regulation of entry impacts welfare.

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