On the Impact of Financial Structure on Product Selection
We examine the interaction between financial and microeconomic decisions in a differentiated duopoly under uncertainty as to consumer taste for quality. Financing is by equity and debt and product specification is endogenous. We consider two three-stage games, according to the order of moves: qualities-financial structure-prices and financial structure-qualities-prices. Once debt is contracted, the manager maximizes equity instead of total value. We find that in both games debt a) increases both prices and qualities but most likely reduces product differentiation due to rival quality response; b) reduces the value of the levered high quality firm because it increases the low quality. Moreover, c) the cost of debt is higher for the second game, implying that it is higher for projects using debt to finance a product’s development-cum-commercialization compared to those financing only the commercialization stage. The results turn out to be robust to alternative specifications of quality and market size uncertainty.
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