This paper shows that obligations from debt hinder tacit collusion if equity owners are protected by limited liability. In contrast to its advantageous commitment value in short-run competition, leverage reduces profits from infinite interaction. Contrasting uncorrelated shocks with a cyclical demand development, we show that in the first case optimal pricing is anticyclical. With demand cycles, it is anticyclical only if equity holders place a low value on future profits, but procyclical otherwise. In both cases, the cyclicity of prices increases with the debt level. Contrary to traditional wisdom, a lower degree of homogeneity may raise profits of leveraged firms.
capital structure dynamic competition collusion Preiswettbewerb Kapitalstruktur Kollusion