Monday, October 4, 2021
We investigate the impact of product market competition on firms' systematic risk. Using a measure of total product market similarity, we document a strong negative link between market power and market betas. There is a more than threefold increase in the effect during the most recent low-competition period. Announcements of anti-competitive mergers lead to a significant reduction in market betas, underlining the causality of the market power--systematic risk relationship. Firms that face less competition appear to be partly insulated from systematic discount-rate shocks. Lower equity costs therefore mean that market power is in part self-reinforcing.