Paul Povel and Michael Raith
"Financial constraints and product market competition: ex-ante vs. ex-post incentives"
JEL codes: G32, G33, L13
Keywords: financial constraints, debt, product market competition

Abstract: This paper analyzes the interaction of financing and output market decisions in a duopoly in which one firm is financially constrained and can borrow funds to finance production costs. Two ideas have been analyzed separately in previous work: some authors argue that debt strategically affects a firmís output market decisions, typically making it more aggressive; others argue that the threat of bankruptcy makes debt financing costly, typically making a firm less aggressive. Our model integrates both ideas; moreover, unlike most previous work we derive debt as an optimal contract. Compared with a situation in which both firms are unconstrained, the constrained firm produces less, while its unconstrained rival produces more; prices are higher for both firms. Both firmsí outputs depend on the constrained firmís internal funds; the relationship is U-shaped for the constrained firm and inversely U-shaped for its unconstrained rival. The unconstrained rival has a higher market share, not because of predation but because of the cost disadvantage of the financially constrained firm.

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