Does competition among financial intermediaries lead to excessively low standards? To examine this question, we construct a model where intermediaries design contracts to attract trading volume, taking into consideration that traders differ in credit quality and may default. When credit quality is observable, intermediaries demand the "right" amount of guarantees. A monopolist would demand fewer guarantees. Private information about credit quality has an ambiguous effect in a competitive environment. When the cost of default is large (small), private information leads to higher (lower) standards. We exhibit examples where private information is present and competition produces higher standards than monopoly does.
Quarterly Journal of Economicsvol.
116, (August 01, 2001):