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Incentives in Internal Capital Markets: Capital Constraints, Competition, and Investment Opportunities


  • Roman Inderst

    () (INSEAD, LSE, CEPR)

  • Christian Laux

    () (Goethe University Frankfurt, CFS)


We examine the effect of competition for scarce corporate financial resources on managers' incentives to generate profitable investment opportunities. Operating an active internal capital market is unambiguously beneficial only if divisions have the same level of financial resources and the same investment potential. Otherwise, managers' incentives may be lower and an internal capital market may decrease firm value even though headquarters allocates capital efficiently. We analyze under which conditions the operation of an internal capital market is more likely to add value, and we derive implications for the boundaries of firms, for a potential conglomerate discount or premium, and for the role of incentive pay for division managers.

Suggested Citation

  • Roman Inderst & Christian Laux, 2005. "Incentives in Internal Capital Markets: Capital Constraints, Competition, and Investment Opportunities," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 36(1), pages 215-228, Spring.
  • Handle: RePEc:rje:randje:v:36:y:2005:1:p:215-228

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Roman Inderst & Manuel Klein, 2007. "Innovation, endogenous overinvestment, and incentive pay," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 38(4), pages 881-904, December.
    2. Claude Francoeur & Alain Niyubahwe, 2009. "Sell-offs, internal capital markets, and long run performance: Canadian evidence," International Journal of Managerial Finance, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 5(4), pages 376-390, September.
    3. Akbel, Basak & Schnitzer, Monika, 2011. "Creditor rights and debt allocation within multinationals," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(6), pages 1367-1379, June.
    4. Baule, Rainer, 2014. "Allocation of risk capital on an internal market," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 234(1), pages 186-196.
    5. Chongwoo Choe & In-Uck Park, 2012. "Information Transmission through Influence Activities," Monash Economics Working Papers 53-12, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    6. Renucci, Antoine, 2008. "Access to financing, rents, and organization of the firm," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 14(4), pages 337-346, September.
    7. Choe, Chongwoo & Yin, Xiangkang, 2009. "Diversification discount, information rents, and internal capital markets," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 178-196, May.
    8. Yan, An & Yang, Zaihui & Jiao, Jie, 2010. "Conglomerate investment under various capital market conditions," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 103-115, January.
    9. Koethenbuerger, Marko & Stimmelmayr, Michael, 2016. "Taxing multinationals in the presence of internal capital markets," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 138(C), pages 58-71.
    10. Wulf, Julie, 2009. "Influence and inefficiency in the internal capital market," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 305-321, October.
    11. Brüggen, Alexander & Luft, Joan, 2011. "Capital rationing, competition, and misrepresentation in budget forecasts," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 36(7), pages 399-411.
    12. Bradford, William & Chen, Chao & Zhu, Song, 2013. "Cash dividend policy, corporate pyramids, and ownership structure: Evidence from China," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 27(C), pages 445-464.
    13. Svetlana Grigorieva & Georgii Gorbatov, 2015. "Puzzle of Corporate Diversification Efficiency in Bric Countries," HSE Working papers WP BRP 47/FE/2015, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
    14. Fosfuri, Andrea & Rønde, Thomas, 2009. "Leveraging resistance to change and the skunk works model of innovation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 274-289, October.
    15. Oliver Hart & Bengt Holmstrom, 2008. "A Theory of Firm Scope," NBER Working Papers 14613, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Pasquale Massimo Picone & Giovanni Battista Dagnino, 2016. "Revamping research on unrelated diversification strategy: perspectives, opportunities and challenges for future inquiry," Journal of Management & Governance, Springer;Accademia Italiana di Economia Aziendale (AIDEA), vol. 20(3), pages 413-445, September.

    More about this item


    Capital Budgeting; Investment Policy; cost of capital Firm Organization and Market Structure: Markets vs. Hierarchies; Vertical Integration; Conglomerates Firm Value; Firm; Firms; Investment;

    JEL classification:

    • G31 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Capital Budgeting; Fixed Investment and Inventory Studies
    • L22 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Organization and Market Structure


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