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Does product market competition reduce agency costs?

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  • Jagannathan, Ravi
  • Srinivasan, Shaker B.

Abstract

The folk wisdom is that competition reduces agency costs. We provide indirect empirical support for this view. We argue that the temptation to retain cash and engage in less productive activities is more severe for firms in less competitive industries. Hence an unanticipated increase in cash-flow due to higher past returns is more likely to lead to a reduction in leverage as well as a lowering of future returns for firms in less competitive environments. Current leverage will therefore be negatively related to past returns and positively related to future returns for such firms. In contrast, for firms in more competitive industries, the negative relation between past returns and current leverage will be attenuated. Theory suggests that the relation between current leverage and future returns for such firms will be zero or negative. Using a proxy to distinguish firms in less competitive industries and data for 165 single business firms in the U.S.A., we provide empirical supports for our arguments.
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Suggested Citation

  • Jagannathan, Ravi & Srinivasan, Shaker B., 1999. "Does product market competition reduce agency costs?," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 387-399.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecofin:v:10:y:1999:i:2:p:387-399
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Franklin Allen, "undated". "Capital Structure and Imperfect Competition in Product Markets (Revision of 24-84; Revised: 11-87)," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 20-85, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
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    6. Fama, Eugene F, 1980. "Agency Problems and the Theory of the Firm," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(2), pages 288-307, April.
    7. Stewart C. Myers, 1984. "Capital Structure Puzzle," NBER Working Papers 1393, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Mueller,Dennis C., 2009. "Profits in the Long Run," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521101592, April.
    9. repec:cdl:anderf:5435 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Titman, Sheridan, 1984. "The effect of capital structure on a firm's liquidation decision," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 137-151, March.
    11. Glazer, Jacob & Israel, Ronen, 1990. "Managerial incentives and financial signaling in product market competition," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 271-280, June.
    12. Brander, James A. & Lewis, Tracy R., 1986. "Oligopoly and Financial Structure: The Limited Liability Effect," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 956-970, December.
    13. Myers, Stewart C., 1984. "Capital structure puzzle," Working papers 1548-84., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
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    Cited by:

    1. Schiantarelli, Fabio, 2005. "Product Market Regulation and Macroeconomic Performance: A Review of Cross Country Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 1791, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Gaëtan Nicodème & Jacques-Bernard Sauner-Leroy, 2007. "Product Market Reforms and Productivity: A Review of the Theoretical and Empirical Literature on the Transmission Channels," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 7(1), pages 53-72, March.
    3. Ahmed Ennasri, 2010. "Incitations Managériales et Concurrence : Synthèse de la Littérature," Studies and Syntheses 10-03, LAMETA, Universitiy of Montpellier, revised Oct 2010.
    4. Harvey, Campbell R. & Lins, Karl V. & Roper, Andrew H., 2004. "The effect of capital structure when expected agency costs are extreme," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 3-30, October.
    5. Datta, Sudip & Iskandar-Datta, Mai & Singh, Vivek, 2013. "Product market power, industry structure, and corporate earnings management," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(8), pages 3273-3285.
    6. Massa, Massimo & Rehman, Zahid & Vermaelen, Theo, 2007. "Mimicking repurchases," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(3), pages 624-666, June.
    7. Hashem Valipour & Javad Moradi & Ehsan Heshmatzade, 2013. "Studying the Effect of Market Competition on the Auditing Fees and the Operational Costs Efficiency as the Agency Costs Indexes," International Journal of Academic Research in Accounting, Finance and Management Sciences, Human Resource Management Academic Research Society, International Journal of Academic Research in Accounting, Finance and Management Sciences, vol. 3(3), pages 95-104, July.
    8. Mark J. Roe, 2001. "Les conditions politiques au développement de la firme managériale," Revue Finance Contrôle Stratégie, revues.org, vol. 4(1), pages 123-182, March.
    9. repec:kap:jmgtgv:v:22:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s10997-017-9378-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Mark Roe, 2002. "Les rentes et leurs conséquences en matière de gouvernance des entreprises," Revue Finance Contrôle Stratégie, revues.org, vol. 5(1), pages 167-215, March.
    11. Bushman, Robert M. & Smith, Abbie J., 2001. "Financial accounting information and corporate governance," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1-3), pages 237-333, December.
    12. Istaitieh, Abdulaziz & Rodriguez-Fernandez, Jose M., 2006. "Factor-product markets and firm's capital structure: A literature review," Review of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 49-75.
    13. Ennasri, Ahmed & Willinger, Marc, 2014. "Incentives and managerial effort under competitive pressure: An experiment," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(4), pages 324-337.

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    JEL classification:

    • L0 - Industrial Organization - - General
    • K0 - Law and Economics - - General

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