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Endogenous Determination of the Liability Rule in Oligopolistic Markets


  • Takao Ohkawa

    () (Faculty of Economics, Ritsumeikan University)

  • Tetsuya Shinkai

    () (School of Economics, Kwansei Gakuin University)

  • Makoto Okamura

    (Faculty of Economics, Ritsumeikan University)

  • Kozo Harimaya

    (Faculty of Business Administration, Ritsumeikan University)


We address the following question: Why do most large firms select limited liability as their business organizational form in the real world? We construct a two-stage game. In the first stage, each of the oligopolistic firms chooses its business organizational form, while in the second stage, each behaves in a Cournot fashion. The following conclusions are established. (1) Even if an unlimited liability firm is viable, all firms become limited liability entities in equilibrium. (2) The equilibrium industry configuration, where all firms become limited liability entities, achieves efficiency in the second-best sense.

Suggested Citation

  • Takao Ohkawa & Tetsuya Shinkai & Makoto Okamura & Kozo Harimaya, 2012. "Endogenous Determination of the Liability Rule in Oligopolistic Markets," Discussion Paper Series 91, School of Economics, Kwansei Gakuin University, revised Jul 2012.
  • Handle: RePEc:kgu:wpaper:91

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    More about this item


    business organizational form; limited liability; unlimited liability; Cournot oligopoly;

    JEL classification:

    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • K22 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - Business and Securities Law
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets

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