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Agency Costs, Firm Behaviour and the Nature of Competition

  • Aghion, Philippe
  • Dewatripont, Mathias
  • Rey, Patrick

This paper develops an agency model in which firms can influence their own incentives to provide a non-contractible effort by contracting on other variables (e.g. by committing themselves to some verifiable investment). In such a model the firms' need for outside finance is shown to interact with their product market behavior in a non-monotonic way; for low levels of outside finance a rise in the need for outside finance reduces the manager's incentive to provide effort; but for high initial levels of outside finance a rise in the need for outside finance requires a commitment to higher effort which in turn is achieved through the contractible investment variables. This non-monotonicity has major implications for firm behavior, both when responding to demand shocks or when reacting to a change in the competitive environment.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 2130.

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Date of creation: Apr 1999
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:2130
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  1. Myers, Stewart C., 1977. "Determinants of corporate borrowing," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 147-175, November.
  2. Povel, Paul & Raith, Michael, 2004. "Financial constraints and product market competition: ex ante vs. ex post incentives," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 22(7), pages 917-949, September.
  3. Schmidt, Klaus M., 1997. "Managerial Incentives and Product Market Competition," Munich Reprints in Economics 19772, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  4. Bulow, Jeremy I & Geanakoplos, John D & Klemperer, Paul D, 1985. "Multimarket Oligopoly: Strategic Substitutes and Complements," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(3), pages 488-511, June.
  5. Aghion, Philippe & Dewatripont, Mathias & Rey, Patrick, 1999. "Competition, Financial Discipline and Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 2128, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Hermalin, Benjamin E., 1991. "The Effects of Competition on Executive Behavior," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt7m13v5dd, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  7. Richard Blundell & Rachel Griffith & John Van Reenen, 1994. "Dynamic count data models of technological innovation," IFS Working Papers W94/10, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  8. Nickell, Stephen J, 1996. "Competition and Corporate Performance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(4), pages 724-46, August.
  9. Bolton, Patrick & Scharfstein, David S, 1990. "A Theory of Predation Based on Agency Problems in Financial Contracting," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 93-106, March.
  10. 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.
  11. N. Gregory Mankiw & Michael D. Whinston, 1986. "Free Entry and Social Inefficiency," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(1), pages 48-58, Spring.
  12. Nickell, Stephen & Nicolitsas, Daphne & Dryden, Neil, 1997. "What makes firms perform well?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(3-5), pages 783-796, April.
  13. Jensen, Michael C, 1986. "Agency Costs of Free Cash Flow, Corporate Finance, and Takeovers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(2), pages 323-29, May.
  14. Fudenberg, Drew & Tirole, Jean, 1984. "The Fat-Cat Effect, the Puppy-Dog Ploy, and the Lean and Hungry Look," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(2), pages 361-66, May.
  15. 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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