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The Limited Liability Effect in Experimental Duopoly Markets

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  • Jörg Oechssler
  • Frank Schuhmacher

Abstract

Brander and Lewis argue in a seminal paper (AER, 1986) that a firm's debt-equity ratio should have important strategic effects on product market competition. We test their model in a duopoly experiment under both, Bertrand and Cournot competition. We find that leverage has strategic effects, but those effects are much weaker than predicted by theory. Specifically, we find for price competition a general tendency towards collusion, which has the same overall consequences - but deviates from - the subgame perfect equilibrium prediction. With quantity competition subjects choose much less debt than predicted by theory. It appears that subjects recognize the strategic effects of their own debt. However, they do not (want to) acknowledge possible strategic advantages of opponents' debt.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Bonn, Germany in its series Bonn Econ Discussion Papers with number bgse36_2001.

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Length: 27
Date of creation: Dec 2001
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bon:bonedp:bgse36_2001

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Postal: Bonn Graduate School of Economics, University of Bonn, Adenauerallee 24 - 26, 53113 Bonn, Germany
Fax: +49 228 73 6884
Web page: http://www.bgse.uni-bonn.de

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Keywords: oligopoly; bankruptcy; debt-equity ratio;

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References

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  1. repec:wop:humbsf:2001-10 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. Huck, S. & Müller, W. & Normann, H.T., 2004. "Strategic delegation in experimental markets," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-140880, Tilburg University.
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  4. Vital Anderhub & Werner Güth & Ulrich Kamecke & Hans-Theo Normann, 2003. "Capacity Choices and Price Competition in Experimental Markets," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 6(1), pages 27-52, June.
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  7. Chevalier, Judith A, 1995. "Capital Structure and Product-Market Competition: Empirical Evidence from the Supermarket Industry," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 415-35, June.
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  9. Judith A. Chevalier & David S. Scharfstein, 1994. "Capital Market Imperfections and Countercyclical Markups: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 4614, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Phillips, Gordon M., 1995. "Increased debt and industry product markets An empirical analysis," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 189-238, February.
  11. Chevalier, Judith A, 1995. " Do LBO Supermarkets Charge More? An Empirical Analysis of the Effects of LBOs on Supermarket Pricing," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 50(4), pages 1095-1112, September.
  12. Jensen, Michael C. & Meckling, William H., 1976. "Theory of the firm: Managerial behavior, agency costs and ownership structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 305-360, October.
  13. Showalter, Dean, 1999. "Strategic debt: evidence in manufacturing," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 319-333, April.
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Cited by:
  1. Sacco, Dario & Schmutzler, Armin, 2011. "Is there a U-shaped relation between competition and investment?," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 65-73, January.
  2. Haan, Marco A. & Toolsema, Linda A., 2008. "The strategic use of debt reconsidered," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 616-624, March.

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