Fighting for the Best, Losing With the Rest: A Case for Restricting Credit to Business Start-Ups
The Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act of 2012 aims at increasing funding access for young firms by easing securities regulation. Motivated by this, we ask if there is a role for the regulation of the market of funds for firms that lack collateral and have a large uncertainty about their ability to generate profits. To answer that we characterize optimal financial contracts in a competitive environment with risk, adverse selection and limited liability. We find that competition among financial intermediaries always forces them to fund projects with negative expected returns both from a private and from a social perspective. Intermediaries use steep payoff schedules to screen entrepreneurs, but limited liability implies this can only be done by giving more to all entrepreneurs.