Giulio Trigilia


Working Papers




Optimal strategic default and investment (joint with Nika Koreli) - 2018

  • Strategic default increases the expected recovery rate from bankruptcy, which is a costly event. When investors cannot commit upfront to bankrupt defaulting borrowers, recovery rates are essential in sustaining investment, and optimal financ- ing contracts may generate incentives for borrowers to strategically default on their debts ex post. Where bankruptcy costs are high (at the extensive margin), strategic default is necessary for the marginal firm to be able to invest. Where costs are low (at the intensive margin), high profitability firms optimally choose financing terms that induce strategic default, even if this is anticipated by all parties and other feasible terms could prevent it. These firms are characterized by high probabil- ity of default and low expected losses given default. It follows that distinguishing between credit events is critical for estimating expected default costs. 



Voluntary disclosure, moral hazard and default risk (joint with Shiming Fu) - 2018

  • We introduce voluntary disclosure opportunities in a dynamic agency model with non-verifiable cash flows. Consistent with the empirical evidence, voluntary disclosure of transitory shocks lowers secondary market credit spreads, because it decreases firms' default risk. However, perhaps surprisingly, voluntary disclosure might lower firm value and widen credit spreads at issuance for a set of low profitability firms. Two countervailing forces shape the dynamics. On the one hand, firm value becomes more persistent after disclosure of bad news, because financiers can cut the firm some slack in bad states without providing incentives for managers to divert cash flows. On the other, this pay-for-bad-luck reduces the value of providing financial slack to a firm in the first place: financing terms may induce higher chances of future liquidation in order to save on managerial rents.


Optimal leverage and transparency - 2017

  • I consider a costly-state-verification model where investors observe the realized return with some probability. I interpret a higher probability that the investors are informed as capturing either the transparency of a firm’s business, or the informational efficiency of the market it operates in. The model covers all degrees of informational asymmetries between two extremes: full opacity (Gale and Hellwig (1985)) and perfect information (Modigliani and Miller(1958)). For intermediate degrees of asymmetric information, I find that the optimal capital structure can be implemented by a mixture of debt and equity and, consistently with the evidence, leverage negatively correlates with transparency.


Optimal security design under asymmetric information and profit manipulation (joint with Kostas Koufopoulos and Roman Kozhan) - 2018

Forthcoming, Review of Corporate Finance Studies

  • ​We consider a model of external financing in which entrepreneurs are privately informed about the quality of their projects and seek funds from competitive financiers. The literature restricts attention to monotonic or ‘manipulation proof’ securities and finds that straight debt is the unique optimal contract. We characterize the optimal contract when entrepreneurs can misreport their earnings by some amount. Straight debt is often suboptimal and never uniquely optimal. The optimal contract is non-monotonic and involves profit manipulation in equilibrium. ​​It can be implemented as debt with performance bonuses.


Estimating Teacher's value added, evidence from a randomization procedure at a UK university (joint with Rocco d'Este and Gonzalo Gaete-Romeo) - 2017


Credit failures (joint with Herakles Polemarchakis and Luca Zavalloni) - 2018



Work in Progress

Sharing hidden losses (joint with Nika Koreli) - 2017

Strategic transparency (joint with Dmitry Orlov) - 2017

Endogenous leverage cycles - 2017​