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Rettl, Daniel A.
Stomper, Alex
Zechner, Josef
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CFS Working Paper Series No. 549
We analyze global data about electricity generation and document that the risk exposure of a firm's owners and its workers depends on competitors' ability or willingness to change their output in response to productivity shocks. Competitor inflexibility appears to be a risk factor: the sales of firms with more inflexible competitors respond more strongly to aggregate sales shocks. As a consequence, competitor inflexibility also affects the stability of firms' total wage- and dividend-payments. Firms with relatively flexible competitors appear to smoothen both wages and dividends, but an increase in competitor inflexibility is associated with less dividend-smoothing and more wagesmoothing. Our evidence supports the idea that labor productivity risk associated with competitor inflexibility should be borne by firms' shareholders, rather than by their workers.
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