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On the Value of Incumbency: Managerial Reference Point and Loss Aversion


  • Chaim Fershtman


In discussing the market entry decision and the strategic interaction between an incumbent firm and an entrant the focus in the literature is on the different asymmetries that exist between the incumbent and the entrant. These asymmetries can be cost asymmetries, capacity asymmetries, information asymmetries or any other factor that affect the cash flow. In this paper we claim that there is also a great importance to the fact that one fir is in the industry and it is the incumbent while the other firm is outside the industry and that even without any other asymmetries between the firms we should expect a different behavior from the two types of firms. Making use of the existing literature on decision making under uncertainty the paper focus on reference dependent preferences and on loss aversion. The paper demonstrates that having different reference point affect the post entry game equilibrium and gives an advantage to the incumbent firm. We define this advantage as the value of incumbency. The paper demonstrates that the firms' reference points and loss aversions affect the self selecion of entrants and the type of industry that will emerge.

Suggested Citation

  • Chaim Fershtman, 1993. "On the Value of Incumbency: Managerial Reference Point and Loss Aversion," Discussion Papers 1020, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  • Handle: RePEc:nwu:cmsems:1020

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gilbert, Richard J., 1989. "Mobility barriers and the value of incumbency," Handbook of Industrial Organization,in: R. Schmalensee & R. Willig (ed.), Handbook of Industrial Organization, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 8, pages 475-535 Elsevier.
    2. Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1992. "Advances in Prospect Theory: Cumulative Representation of Uncertainty," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 5(4), pages 297-323, October.
    3. Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman, 1991. "Loss Aversion in Riskless Choice: A Reference-Dependent Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(4), pages 1039-1061.
    4. Loomes, Graham & Sugden, Robert, 1982. "Regret Theory: An Alternative Theory of Rational Choice under Uncertainty," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 92(368), pages 805-824, December.
    5. Harry Markowitz, 1952. "The Utility of Wealth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 60, pages 151-151.
    6. 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.
    7. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-291, March.
    8. Samuelson, William & Zeckhauser, Richard, 1988. "Status Quo Bias in Decision Making," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 7-59, March.
    9. Kahneman, Daniel & Knetsch, Jack L & Thaler, Richard H, 1990. "Experimental Tests of the Endowment Effect and the Coase Theorem," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1325-1348, December.
    10. Daniel Kahneman & Jack L. Knetsch & Richard H. Thaler, 1991. "Anomalies: The Endowment Effect, Loss Aversion, and Status Quo Bias," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 193-206, Winter.
    11. Shefrin, Hersh & Statman, Meir, 1985. " The Disposition to Sell Winners Too Early and Ride Losers Too Long: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 40(3), pages 777-790, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bram Driesen & Andrés Perea & Hans Peters, 2010. "On Loss Aversion in Bimatrix Games," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 68(4), pages 367-391, April.
    2. Bowman, David & Minehart, Deborah & Rabin, Matthew, 1999. "Loss aversion in a consumption-savings model," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 155-178, February.
    3. Pennings, Joost M. E., 2002. "Pulling the trigger or not: Factors affecting behavior of initiating a position in derivatives markets," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 263-278, April.
    4. Patti Fisher, 2013. "Is There Evidence of Loss Aversion in Saving Behaviors in Spain?," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 34(1), pages 41-51, March.
    5. Jakopin, Nejc M. & Klein, Andreas, 2012. "First-mover and incumbency advantages in mobile telecommunications," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 65(3), pages 362-370.

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