Customer-Base Concentration, Investment, and Profitability: The U.S. Government as a Major Customer Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • ABSTRACT We examine whether customer-base concentration has a differential impact on profitability for firms contracting with major government customers versus firms contracting with major corporate customers. We document that firm profitability increases with the concentration of major government customers, but decreases with the concentration of major corporate customers. We attribute the contrasting results to the differential impact of major government and corporate customers on demand uncertainty. Specifically, firms contracting with major government customers face lower demand uncertainty that enables them to realize more efficiency gains from customer-specific investments, whereas firms contracting with major corporate customers are exposed to higher demand uncertainty that reduces the efficiency of customer-specific investments. Overall, our study suggests that major government customers are unique and important in the composition of customer base, and they impact firm outcomes in a significantly different way than major corporate customers. JEL Classifications: M41; L25; G14; H57.

published proceedings

  • The Accounting Review

author list (cited authors)

  • Cohen, D. A., & Li, B.

citation count

  • 30

complete list of authors

  • Cohen, Daniel A||Li, Bin

publication date

  • January 2020