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Is an Automaker's Road to Bankruptcy Paved with Customers' Beliefs?

Ali Hortacsu, Gregor Matvos, Chaehee Shin, Chad Syverson and Sriram Venkataraman

American Economic Review, 2011, vol. 101, issue 3, 93-97

Abstract: We explore the role the feedback loop between firms' financial health and consumers' demand for their products plays in the auto market. We construct a simple model of an automaker making pricing and debt service (continuation) decisions while recognizing that consumers are sensitive to whether it stays in business. We show that multiple equilibria can exist in such a model, and calibrate it to match stylized facts surrounding GM's recent bankruptcy. The results suggest that while the impact of financial distress on demand substantially reduced GM's profit, bank-run-like multiple equilibria do not appear likely in this market.

Date: 2011
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