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Are Consumers Affected by Durable Goods Makers' Financial Distress? The Case of Auto Manufacturers

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  • Ali Hortaçsu
  • Gregor Matvos
  • Chad Syverson
  • Sriram Venkataraman

Abstract

The financial decisions of durable goods makers can impose spillovers on their consumers. Namely, durable goods provide a consumption stream that frequently depends on services provided by the manufacturer (e.g., warranties, parts, and maintenance). Manufacturer bankruptcy, or even the possibility thereof, threatens this service provision and can substantially reduce the value of its products to their current owners. We test this hypothesis in one of the largest durable goods markets, automobiles, using data on millions of used cars sold at wholesale auctions around the U.S. during 2006-8. We find that an increase in an auto manufacturer's financial distress results in a contemporaneous drop in the prices of its cars at auction, controlling for a host of other influences on price. The estimated effects are statistically and economically significant. Furthermore, cars with longer expected service lives (those within manufacturer warranty, having lower mileage, or in better condition) see larger price declines than those with shorter remaining lives. These patterns do not seem to be driven solely by reduced demand from auto dealers affiliated with the troubled manufacturers or by contemporaneous declines in new car prices. Our estimates imply a potentially large indirect cost of financial distress on car manufacturers.

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  • Ali Hortaçsu & Gregor Matvos & Chad Syverson & Sriram Venkataraman, 2010. "Are Consumers Affected by Durable Goods Makers' Financial Distress? The Case of Auto Manufacturers," NBER Working Papers 16197, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16197
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Gregor Andrade & Steven N. Kaplan, 1998. "How Costly is Financial (Not Economic) Distress? Evidence from Highly Leveraged Transactions that Became Distressed," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 53(5), pages 1443-1493, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ali Hortacsu & Gregor Matvos & Chaehee Shin & Chad Syverson & Sriram Venkataraman, 2011. "Is an Automaker's Road to Bankruptcy Paved with Customers' Beliefs?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(3), pages 93-97, May.
    2. Grigolon, Laura & Leheyda, Nina & Verboven, Frank, 2016. "Scrapping subsidies during the financial crisis — Evidence from Europe," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 41-59.
    3. Leheyda, Nina & Verboven, Frank, 2013. "Scrapping Subsidies during the Financial Crisis - Evidence from the Europe," CEPR Discussion Papers 9629, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D4 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design
    • G3 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance
    • L1 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance
    • L6 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing

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