Antitrust & Competition Policy Blog

Editor: D. Daniel Sokol
University of Florida
Levin College of Law

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Debt, Managers and Cartels

Salvatore Piccolo (Universita Cattolica del Sacro Cuore di Milano and CSEF) and Giancarlo Spagnolo (SITE Stockholm School of Economics, DEF Tor Vergata, and CEPR) have an interesting paper on Debt, Managers and Cartels. Recommended!

ABSTRACT: We propose a theory of anticompetitive effects of debt finance based on the interaction between capital structure, managerial incentives, and firms ability to sustain collusive agreements. Shareholders' commitments not to expropriate debtholders through managers with valuable reputations or common incentive schemes greatly facilitate collusive behavior in product markets. Disclosure rules aimed at improving transparency in corporate governance or network-based credit markets can confer credibility to such arrangements even in environments where firms lack commitment power, thereby inducing collusion through leverage in otherwise competitive downstream industries. Managers are happy with the arrangement since they share in the collusive rent.

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