Internal Capital Markets and the Competition for Corporate Resources

  • Author(s): JEREMY C. STEIN
  • Published: Apr 18, 2012
  • Pages: 111-133
  • DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-6261.1997.tb03810.x


This article examines the role of corporate headquarters in allocating scarce resources to competing projects in an internal capital market. Unlike a bank, headquarters has control rights that enable it to engage in “winner‐picking”—the practice of actively shifting funds from one project to another. By doing a good job in the winner‐picking dimension, headquarters can create value even when it cannot help at all to relax overall firm‐wide credit constraints. The model implies that internal capital markets may sometimes function more efficiently when headquarters oversees a small and focused set of projects.

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