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Key Finding

Higher enforceability of non-compete agreements is associated with greater executive resistance to horizontal takeovers


Non-compete agreements (NCAs) limit outside employment options and, therefore, increase personal costs of job displacement for managers. Using state-level changes in NCA enforceability as a natural experiment, we find that managers are more averse to horizontal takeovers when NCA enforcement tightens. In particular, higher enforceability is associated with fewer same-industry takeovers. Those that do materialize are more likely to be hostile, involve higher premiums, and are less likely to complete. Overall, the findings indicate that the use of NCAs and their enforceability have important implications for the market for corporate control and that banning NCAs could actually promote consolidation.

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