Sequential Banking

Sequential Banking

Journal of Political Economy.
1992, Vol. 100, Pages 41-61

We study environments in which agents may borrow sequentially from more than one lender. Although debt is prioritized, additional lending imposes an externality on prior debt because, with moral hazard, the probability of repayment of prior loans decreases. Equilibrium interest rates are higher than they would be if borrowers could commit to borrow from at most one bank. Even though the loan terms are less favorable than they would be under commitment, the indebtedness of borrowers is greater. Further, additional lending causes the probability of default to increase. The results apply to markets for consumer, corporate, and international debt.