The Stability of Dividends and Wages: Effects of Competitor Inflexibility
55 Pages Posted: 26 Oct 2016 Last revised: 27 Jan 2020
Date Written: May 26, 2018
We analyze how industry-wide risks are shared between firms' employees and their owners. Focusing on the electricity industry, we study firms which are subject to similar risks but use different production technologies. We document that firms are more exposed to industry shocks when their competitors use lower-cost production technologies, since this mitigates their response to negative demand shocks. This "competitor inflexibility" destabilizes payouts to equityholders, but there is no evidence that it compromises wage stability. Firms do not share systematic risk due to competitor inflexibility with their employees and set wages as if their shareholders' risk preferences were given.
Keywords: risk-sharing within firms, payout stability, wage stability, competitor inflexibility
JEL Classification: D22, G35, J33, J41, L13, L94
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