NBER Working Papers by Konstantin Milbradt

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Working Papers

January 2016Dynamic Debt Maturity
with Zhiguo He: w21919
A firm chooses its debt maturity structure and default timing dynamically, both without commitment. Via the fraction of newly issued short-term bonds, equity holders control the maturity structure, which affects their endogenous default decision. A shortening equilibrium with accelerated default emerges when cash-flows deteriorate over time so that debt recovery is higher if default occurs earlier. Self-enforcing shortening and lengthening equilibria may co-exist, with the latter possibly Pareto-dominating the former. The inability to commit to issuance policies can worsen the Leland-problem of the inability to commit to a default policy—a self-fulfilling shortening spiral and adverse default policy may arise.
October 2014Quantifying Liquidity and Default Risks of Corporate Bonds over the Business Cycle
with Hui Chen, Rui Cui, Zhiguo He: w20638
We develop a structural credit risk model to examine how the interactions of liquidity and default risk affect corporate bond pricing. By explicitly modeling debt rollover and by endogenizing the holding costs via collateralized financing, our model generates rich links between liquidity risk and default risk. The introduction of macroeconomic risks helps the model capture realistic time variation in default risk premia and the default-liquidity spiral over the business cycle. Across different credit ratings, our calibrated model can simultaneously match the average default probabilities, credit spreads, and bond liquidity measures including Bond-CDS spreads and bid-ask spreads in the data. Through a structural decomposition, we show that the interactions between liquidity and default risk...
February 2014Maturity Rationing and Collective Short-Termism
with Martin Oehmke: w19946
Financing terms and investment decisions are jointly determined. This interdependence links firms' asset and liability sides and can lead to short-termism in investment. In our model, financing frictions increase with the investment horizon, such that financing for long-term projects is relatively expensive and potentially rationed. In response, firms whose first-best investment opportunities are long-term may change their investments towards second-best projects of shorter maturities. This worsens financing terms for firms with shorter maturity projects, inducing them to change their investments as well. In equilibrium, investment is inefficiently short-term. Equilibrium asset-side adjustments by firms can amplify shocks and, while privately optimal, can be socially undesirable.

Published: Maturity Rationing and Collective Short-Termism, Konstantin Milbradt, Martin Oehmke. in New Perspectives on Corporate Capital Structure, Acharya, Almeida, and Baker. 2015

September 2012Endogenous Liquidity and Defaultable Bonds
with Zhiguo He: w18408
This paper studies the interaction between fundamental and liquidity for defaultable corporate bonds that are traded in an over-the-counter secondary market with search frictions. Bargaining with dealers determines a bond's endogenous liquidity, which depends on both the firm fundamental and the time-to-maturity of the bond. Corporate default decisions interact with the endogenous secondary market liquidity via the rollover channel. A default-liquidity loop arises: Earlier endogenous default worsens a bond's secondary market liquidity, which amplifies equity holders' rollover losses, which in turn leads to earlier endogenous default. Besides characterizing in closed form the full inter-dependence between liquidity premium and default premium for credit spreads, we also study the optimal ma...

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