Liquidity Constraints, Production Costs and Output Decisions
CEPR Discussion Paper No. 2458
Posted: 27 Jun 2000
Date Written: May 2000
This paper analyses the interaction of financing and output market decisions in an oligopolistic setting. We integrate two ideas that have been analysed separately in previous work: some authors argue that due to risk-shifting, debt (leverage) makes a firm 'aggressive' in its output market; others argue a firm with debts tends to be 'soft', in order to avoid bankruptcy. Our model allows for both effects. Given the key role that debt plays in this analysis, we derive debt as an optimal contract. We find that an indebted firm produces less than an unleveraged firm. The extent to which a firm is financially constrained is measured by its net worth, which determines by how much the firm will reduce its output. We find that output is a nonmonotonic function of net worth: while a moderately constrained firm reduces its output if its constraints become tighter, a more strongly constrained firm increases output. These results hold for a monopoly, but are more pronounced in a duopoly.
JEL Classification: G32, G33, L13
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