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Does Product Market Competition Reduce Agency Costs?


  • Ravi Jagannathan
  • Shaker B. Srinivasan


The folk wisdom is that competition reduces agency costs. We provide indirect empirical support for this view. We argue that the temptation to retain cash and engage in less productive activities is more severe for firms in less competitive industries. Hence an unanticipated increase in cash-flow due to higher past returns is more likely to lead to a reduction in leverage as well as a lowering of future returns for firms in less competitive environments. Current leverage will therefore be negatively related to past returns and positively related to future returns for such firms. In contrast, for firms in more competitive industries, the negative relation between past returns and current leverage will be attenuated. Theory suggests that the relation between current leverage and future returns for such firms will be zero or negative. Using a proxy to distinguish firms in less competitive industries and data for 165 single business firms in the U.S.A., we provide empirical supports for our arguments.

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  • Ravi Jagannathan & Shaker B. Srinivasan, 2000. "Does Product Market Competition Reduce Agency Costs?," NBER Working Papers 7480, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7480
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Mark J. Roe, 2001. "Les conditions politiques au développement de la firme managériale," Revue Finance Contrôle Stratégie,, vol. 4(1), pages 123-182, March.
    2. Harvey, Campbell R. & Lins, Karl V. & Roper, Andrew H., 2004. "The effect of capital structure when expected agency costs are extreme," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 3-30, October.
    3. Gaëtan Nicodème & Jacques-Bernard Sauner-Leroy, 2007. "Product Market Reforms and Productivity: A Review of the Theoretical and Empirical Literature on the Transmission Channels," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 7(1), pages 53-72, March.
    4. Massa, Massimo & Rehman, Zahid & Vermaelen, Theo, 2007. "Mimicking repurchases," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(3), pages 624-666, June.
    5. Mark Roe, 2002. "Les rentes et leurs conséquences en matière de gouvernance des entreprises," Revue Finance Contrôle Stratégie,, vol. 5(1), pages 167-215, March.
    6. Bushman, Robert M. & Smith, Abbie J., 2001. "Financial accounting information and corporate governance," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1-3), pages 237-333, December.
    7. Ennasri, Ahmed & Willinger, Marc, 2014. "Incentives and managerial effort under competitive pressure: An experiment," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(4), pages 324-337.
    8. repec:kap:jmgtgv:v:22:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s10997-017-9378-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Fabio Schiantarelli, 2005. "Product Market Regulation and Macroeconomic Performance: A Review of Cross Country Evidence," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 623, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 04 Aug 2008.
    10. Istaitieh, Abdulaziz & Rodriguez-Fernandez, Jose M., 2006. "Factor-product markets and firm's capital structure: A literature review," Review of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 49-75.
    11. Ahmed Ennasri, 2010. "Incitations Managériales et Concurrence : Synthèse de la Littérature," Studies and Syntheses 10-03, LAMETA, Universtiy of Montpellier, revised Oct 2010.
    12. Datta, Sudip & Iskandar-Datta, Mai & Singh, Vivek, 2013. "Product market power, industry structure, and corporate earnings management," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(8), pages 3273-3285.
    13. Hashem Valipour & Javad Moradi & Ehsan Heshmatzade, 2013. "Studying the Effect of Market Competition on the Auditing Fees and the Operational Costs Efficiency as the Agency Costs Indexes," International Journal of Academic Research in Accounting, Finance and Management Sciences, Human Resource Management Academic Research Society, International Journal of Academic Research in Accounting, Finance and Management Sciences, vol. 3(3), pages 95-104, July.

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    JEL classification:

    • L0 - Industrial Organization - - General
    • K0 - Law and Economics - - General

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