nep-com New Economics Papers
on Industrial Competition
Issue of 2019‒06‒17
28 papers chosen by
Russell Pittman
United States Department of Justice

  1. Price Disclosure by Two-sided Platforms By Paul Belleflamme; Martin Peitz
  2. Optimal Non-Linear Pricing Scheme when Consumers are Habit Forming By Eleftheria Triviza
  3. Platform Competition With Cash-back Rebates Under No Surcharge Rules By Marius Schwartz; Daniel R. Vincent
  4. Production in advance versus production to order: Equilibrium and social surplus By Tasnádi, Attila
  5. Online Privacy and Information Disclosure by Consumers By Shota Ichihashi
  6. Injunctions against false advertising By Baumann, Florian; Rasch, Alexander
  7. Note on the Excess Entry Theorem in the Presence of Network Externalities By Tsuyoshi Toshimitsu
  8. Private Labels and Product Quality under Asymmetric Information By Zhiqi Chen; Heng Xu
  9. A network approach to cartel detection in public auction markets By Johannes Wachs; J\'anos Kert\'esz
  10. On the Competitive Effects of Screening in Procurement By Seres, G.; Pigon, Adam
  11. Going Places: Rail Transport in Japan By Fumitoshi Mizutani
  12. Trust, Investment and Competition: Theory and Evidence from German Car Manufacturers By Calzolari, Giacomo; Felli, Leonardo; Koenen, Johannes; Spagnolo, Giancarlo; Stahl, Konrad O
  13. Strengths and Weaknesses of the British Market Model By David Newbery
  14. The role of expectations for market design - on structural regulatory uncertainty in electricity markets By Mirjam Ambrosius; Jonas Egerer; Veronika Grimm; Adriaan H van der Weijde
  15. Production efficiency of nodal and zonal pricing in imperfectly competitive electricity markets By Mahir Sarfati; Mahammad Reza Hesamzadeh; Par Holmberg
  16. Elecxit: The Cost of Bilaterally Uncoupling British-EU Electricity Trade By Joachim Geske; Richard Green; Iain Staffell
  17. Testing the Quiet Life Hypothesis in the African Banking Industry By Simplice A. Asongu; Nicholas M. Odhiambo
  18. Competing Mechanisms and Folk Theorems: Two Examples By Andrea Attar; Eloisa Campioni; Thomas Mariotti; Gwenael Piaser
  19. Optimal Trading for an Informed Seller By Anastasios Dosis
  20. Natural Monopoly in Transport By André de Palma; Julien Monardo
  21. Polynésie française : Révision du code de la concurrence - Vers une meilleure prise en compte de l'analyse économique By Florent Venayre
  22. Effects of Buyer and Supplier Relationships and Capital Relationships on R&D Activities (Japanese) By YAMAGUCHI Akira; IKEUCHI Kenta; FUKAO Kyoji; KWON Hyeog Ug; KIM Young Gak
  23. Merger Waves: Are Buyers Following the Herd or Responding to Structural Queues? By Ralph Sonenshine
  24. The Impact of Spillover Pools on Firm Patent Applications in Japan (Japanese) By EDAMURA Kazuma
  25. ICT in Reducing Information Asymmetry for Financial Sector Competition By Simplice A. Asongu; Joseph Nnanna
  26. R&D and market size: who benefits from orphan drug regulation? By Simona Gamba; Laura Magazzini; Paolo Pertile
  27. Challenges to the Future of European Single Market in Natural Gas By Chi Kong Chyong
  28. If You Think 9-Ending Prices Are Low, Think Again By Avichai Snir; Daniel Levy

  1. By: Paul Belleflamme; Martin Peitz
    Abstract: We consider two-sided platforms with the feature that some users on one or both sides of the market lack information about the price charged to participants on the other side of the market. With positive cross-group external effects, such lack of price information makes demand less elastic. A monopoly platform does not benefit from opaqueness and optimally reveals price information. contrast, in a two-sided singlehoming duopoly, platforms benefit from opaqueness and, thus, do not have an incentive to disclose price information. In competitive bottleneck markets, results are more nuanced: if one side is fully informed (for exogenous reasons), platforms may decide to inform users on the other side either fully, partially or not at all, depending on the strength of cross-group external effects and the degree of horizontal differentiation.
    Keywords: price transparency; two-sided markets; competitive bottleneck; platform competition; price information; strategic disclosure
    JEL: D43 L12 L13
    Date: 2019–06
  2. By: Eleftheria Triviza
    Abstract: This article analyses how consumers' habit formation affects firms' pricing policies. We consider both sophisticated consumers, who realize that their current consumption will affect future consumption, and naive consumers, who do not. The optimal contract for sophisticated consumers is a two-part tariff. The main result is that under naive habit formation, the optimal pricing pattern is a three-part tariff; namely a fixed fee, with some units priced below cost --- and after their end --- pricing above marginal cost. This holds both under symmetric and asymmetric information.
    Keywords: three-part tariff, nonlinear pricing, naivete, habit formation
    JEL: L11 D11 D42 D82
    Date: 2019–06
  3. By: Marius Schwartz (Department of Economics, Georgetown University); Daniel R. Vincent (Department of Economics, University of Maryland)
    Abstract: We analyze competing strategic platforms setting fees to a local monopolist merchant and cash-back rebates to end users, when the merchant may not surcharge platforms’ customers, a rule imposed by some credit card networks. Each platform has an incentive to gain transactions by increasing the spread between its merchant fee and user rebate above its rival’s spread. This incentive yields non-existence of pure strategy equilibrium in many natural environments. In some circumstances, there is a mixed strategy equilibrium where platforms choose fee structures that induce the merchant to accept only one platform with equal probability, a form of monopolistic market allocation.
    Keywords: Platform price competition; rebates; no surcharge; payment networks; credit cards.
    JEL: L13 L41 L42 D43
    Date: 2019–06–11
  4. By: Tasnádi, Attila
    Abstract: We determine a symmetric mixed-strategy equilibrium of the production-in-advance type symmetric capacity-constrained Bertrand-Edgeworth duopoly game for the most challenging case of intermediate capacities, which was unknown so far. Based on the obtained equilibrium we show that economic surplus within the production-to-order type environment is higher than in the respective production-in-advance type one, and therefore production-to-order should be preferred to production-in-advance if the mode of production can be influenced by the government.
    Keywords: Price-quantity games, Bertrand-Edgeworth competition
    JEL: D43 L13
    Date: 2019–06–10
  5. By: Shota Ichihashi
    Abstract: I study the welfare and price implications of consumer privacy. A consumer discloses information to a multi-product seller, which learns about the consumer’s preferences, sets prices, and makes product recommendations. While the consumer benefits from accurate product recommendations, the seller may use the information to price discriminate. I show that the seller prefers to commit to not using consumer information for pricing to encourage information disclosure. However, this commitment hurts the consumer, who could be better off by pre-committing to withhold some information. In contrast to single-product models, total surplus may be lower if the seller can base prices on information.
    Keywords: Economic models
    JEL: D82 D83
    Date: 2019–06
  6. By: Baumann, Florian; Rasch, Alexander
    Abstract: Rules of consumer protection or fair competition can be publicly or privately enforced. We consider the possibility of false advertising by a firm in duopolistic competition where consumers can be distinguished according to whether or not they form rational beliefs about the trustworthiness of advertising claims. We compare private and public law enforcement in the form of the demand for injunctions against false advertising. From a welfare perspective, we show that it can be optimal either to have the private entity (the competitor/a consumer protection agency) or the government agency as plaintiff, where the optimal regime depends on the share of naive consumers and the level of trial costs in a non-trivial way.
    Keywords: injunction suits,false advertising,law enforcement,naive consumers,product differentiation
    JEL: K41 K42 L13 L15
    Date: 2019
  7. By: Tsuyoshi Toshimitsu (School of Economics, Kwansei Gakuin University)
    Abstract: We reconsider the excess entry theorem in the presence of network externalities under Cournot oligopoly. We demonstrate that if the strength of a network externality is larger (smaller) than a half, the number of firms under free entry is socially too small (too large), based on the second-best criteria.
    Keywords: Cournot oligopoly; free entry; excess entry theorem; network externality; a fulfilled equilibrium; passive expectations; responsive expectations
    JEL: D21 D43 D62 L15
    Date: 2019–06
  8. By: Zhiqi Chen (Department of Economics, Carleton University); Heng Xu (Business School, China University of Political Science and Law)
    Abstract: Contrary to the existing theories of private label products, we demonstrate that the introduction of a private label product by a retailer may improve the profits of the supplier of a competing national brand product. Our theory is built on two main elements. First, the introduction of a private label product may expand the total demand for the products carried by the retailer and thus enlarge the joint profit to be split between the retailer and the supplier of the national brand product. Second, in an environment where consumers do not know the quality of the private label product, the national brand serves as a bond to assure consumers that the retailer sells high-quality products only. This quality assurance enhances the joint profit generated by the introduction of the private label product, which, in conjunction with the weakening of the retailer’s bargaining position caused by asymmetric information, may enable the national brand supplier to earn a larger profit than in the absence of the private label product.
    JEL: L20 L15
    Date: 2019–06–03
  9. By: Johannes Wachs; J\'anos Kert\'esz
    Abstract: Competing firms can increase profits by setting prices collectively, imposing significant costs on consumers. Such groups of firms are known as cartels and because this behavior is illegal, their operations are secretive and difficult to detect. Cartels feel a significant internal obstacle: members feel short-run incentives to cheat. Here we present a network-based framework to detect potential cartels in bidding markets based on the idea that the chance a group of firms can overcome this obstacle and sustain cooperation depends on the patterns of its interactions. We create a network of firms based on their co-bidding behavior, detect interacting groups, and measure their cohesion and exclusivity, two group-level features of their collective behavior. Applied to a market for school milk, our method detects a known cartel and calculates that it has high cohesion and exclusivity. In a comprehensive set of nearly 150,000 public contracts awarded by the Republic of Georgia from 2011 to 2016, detected groups with high cohesion and exclusivity are significantly more likely to display traditional markers of cartel behavior. We replicate this relationship between group topology and the emergence of cooperation in a simulation model. Our method presents a scalable, unsupervised method to find groups of firms in bidding markets ideally positioned to form lasting cartels.
    Date: 2019–06
  10. By: Seres, G. (Tilburg University, TILEC); Pigon, Adam
    Abstract: Procuring authorities frequently use screening in order to mitigate risky bids. This study estimates the effect of bid screening and litigation on entry and bidding using a unique data set on highway construction procurement auctions in Poland. The market exhibits a screening method that ex post selects eligible offers. We demonstrate with an empirical model that this method disproportionately affects small firms and creates a barrier to entry. Our results suggest that screening increases bids by two channels. First, it directly inflates bids as well as decreasing entry. Second, in a competitive market, lower entry also inflates bids and prices.
    Keywords: procurement; auctions; market design; litigation
    JEL: H57 D44 L5
    Date: 2019
  11. By: Fumitoshi Mizutani (Graduate School of Business Administration, Kobe University)
    Abstract: The purpose of this short paper is to summarize the state of rail transportation in Japan and to recount recent developments. Points of focus here are organization and types of competition in the rail industry in Japan, the evolution of passenger and freight rail transportation, yardstick regulation as a competition tool, and recent vertical separation in Japan. Several distinguishing factors of the Japanese rail industry are discussed. First, passenger rail transportation is still vital in Japan, but the freight rail business is weaker than in other major industrial countries. The second notable feature of the rail industry in Japan is the extraordinary number of rail operators, the vast majority of which are privately owned passenger railways. Third, most railways are vertically integrated, and entry into and exit from the market are not free but are regulated. Fourth, there are eight types of competition, among which is yardstick competition, an indirect form that is applied to separate markets and has existed in Japan since the 1970s. Fifth, as for the evolution of passenger and freight rail transportation, two developments—the Ekinaka business for passenger rail and the Eco-Rail-Mark certificate system for freight—are underway in the rail industry. Sixth, yardstick regulation is effective to some degree, but it is unknown how long the effect will continue. Last, while vertical integration is the norm in Japan, there are cases of vertical separation in some urban area operations. Recently, however, new types of vertical separation have been emerging, mostly for financial reasons. As competition in Japan’s rail industry has been very limited up to now, Japanese policy makers would be wise to seek lessons from the European experience.
    Keywords: Rail industry in Japan, vertical integration, yardstick regulation, Ekinaka business, Eco-Rail-Mark certificate system, privately owned railways
    JEL: L16 L25 L33 L43 L51 L92 R41 R48
    Date: 2019–03
  12. By: Calzolari, Giacomo; Felli, Leonardo; Koenen, Johannes; Spagnolo, Giancarlo; Stahl, Konrad O
    Abstract: Based on data from a comprehensive benchmarking study on buyer-supplier relationships in the German automotive industry, we show that more trust in a relationship is associated with higher idiosyncratic investment by suppliers and better part quality|but also with more competition among suppliers. Both associations hold only for parts involving comparatively unsophisticated technology, and disappear for parts involving sophisticated technology. We rationalize all these observations by means of a relational contracting model of repeated procurement with non-contractible, buyer-specific investments. In relationships involving higher trust, buyers are able to induce higher investment and more intense competition among suppliers|but only when the buyer has the bargaining power. This ability disappears when the bargaining power resides with the supplier(s).
    Keywords: bargaining power; Buyer-Supplier Contracts; hold-up; Relational Contracts
    JEL: D86 L14 L62 O34
    Date: 2019–05
  13. By: David Newbery (University of Cambridge)
    Keywords: British electricity supply, reforms, financing, renewables, tariffs, nuclear
    JEL: D43 H23 L94 Q48 Q54
    Date: 2019–02
  14. By: Mirjam Ambrosius (Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU)); Jonas Egerer (Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU)); Veronika Grimm (Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU)); Adriaan H van der Weijde (University of Edinburgh)
    Keywords: Electricity, investment, structural uncertainty, market design, bidding zones, nodal pricing
    JEL: D80 L51 Q41 Q48
    Date: 2019–05
  15. By: Mahir Sarfati (KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden); Mahammad Reza Hesamzadeh (KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden); Par Holmberg (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN), Sweden)
    Keywords: Congestion management, Zonal pricing, Flow-based market coupling
    JEL: C61 C72 D43 L13 L94
    Date: 2019–02
  16. By: Joachim Geske (Imperial College London); Richard Green (Imperial College London); Iain Staffell (Imperial College London)
    Keywords: Electricity Trading, Market Coupling, Brexit
    JEL: L94 F13 F15
    Date: 2019–05
  17. By: Simplice A. Asongu (Yaoundé/Cameroon); Nicholas M. Odhiambo (Pretoria, South Africa)
    Abstract: The Quiet Life Hypothesis (QLH) is the pursuit of less efficiency by firms. In this study, we assess if powerful banks in the African banking industry are increasing financial access. The QLH is therefore consistent with the pursuit of financial intermediation inefficiency by large banks. To investigate the hypothesis, we first estimate the Lerner index. Then, using Two Stage Least Squares, we assess the effect of the Lerner index on financial access proxied by loan price and loan quantity. The empirical evidence is based on a panel of 162 banks from 42 African countries for the period 2001-2011. The findings support the QLH, although quiet life is driven by the below-median Lerner index sub-sample. Policy implications are discussed.
    Keywords: Financial access; Bank performance; Africa
    JEL: D40 G20 G29 L10 O55
    Date: 2018–01
  18. By: Andrea Attar (CEIS & DEF University of Rome "Tor Vergata"); Eloisa Campioni (CEIS & DEF University of Rome "Tor Vergata"); Thomas Mariotti (Toulouse School of Economics, CNRS); Gwenael Piaser (IPAG Business School, Paris)
    Abstract: We study competing-mechanism games under exclusive competition: principals first simultaneously post mechanisms, then agents simultaneously choose to participate and communicate with at most one principal. In this setting, which is common to competing-auction and competitive-search applications, we develop two examples that question the relevance of the folk theorems for competing-mechanism games documented in the literature. The first example shows that there can exist pure-strategy equilibria in which some principal obtains a payoff below her min-max payoff, computed over all principals' decisions. Thus folk-theorem results may have to involve a bound on principals' payoffs that depends on the spaces of messages available to the agents, and not only on the players' available actions. The second example shows that even this nonintrinsic approach is misleading when agents' participation decisions are strategic: there can exist incentive-feasible allocations in which principals obtain payoffs above their min-max payoffs, computed over arbitrary spaces of mechanisms, but which cannot be supported in equilibrium.
    Keywords: Competing Mechanisms, Folk Theorems, Exclusive Competition
    JEL: D82
    Date: 2019–06–06
  19. By: Anastasios Dosis (ESSEC Business School - Essec Business School)
    Abstract: A seller with perfect monopoly power trades an indivisible object with a buyer. Both the seller's and the buyer's valuations for the object depend on its quality, which is privately known by the seller. Moreover, the seller has perfect information about the buyer's valuation for each quality. Even though posting a fixed price is ex ante optimal, it might not be interim individually rational and hence not necessarily implementable. The set of interim optimal allocations is charac-terised by solving a parametric linear maximisation program. These allocations might differ from simple price-posting. If the seller offers a menu of contracts, then allocations that are not interim optimal can be supported as equilibrium allocations. However, this sub-optimality result seems not to be robust if there are at least two buyers who can counter-offer menus of contracts after the seller's offer. In that case, an allocation is an equilibrium allocation if and only if it is interim optimal.
    Keywords: Informed seller,Common values,Interim optimal trading
    Date: 2019–03–09
  20. By: André de Palma; Julien Monardo (ENS Cachan - École normale supérieure - Cachan)
    Keywords: Natural Monopoly,Regulation,Subadditivity of Costs,Economies of Scale,Average Cost,Ramsey-Boiteux,Incentive,Multiproduct Firm
    Date: 2019–05–06
  21. By: Florent Venayre (GDI - Gouvernance et développement insulaire - UPF - Université de la Polynésie Française)
    Abstract: The French Polynesian Competition Code was recently modified by a law promulgated on August 2018. Using results from a conference held at the University of French Polynesia, this law introduces some important amendments in the French Polynesian competition law and its enforcement procedures. This article especially focuses on the prohibition of exclusive importing licences, on the structural injunction without any fault and on the prohibition of abuse of economic dependance. This law should help to promote a more efficient application of the competition law in the context of the French Polynesian economy.
    Abstract: Le code de la concurrence de la Polynésie française a récemment été modifié par une loi promulguée en août 2018. A la suite des résultats d'un colloque organisé à l'Université de la Polynésie française, cette loi introduit d'importantes modifications du droit de la concurrence polynésien et de ses procédures d'application. Cet article porte en particulier sur l'interdiction des droits exclusifs d'importation, l'injonction structurelle sans faute et l'interdiction de l'abus de dépendance économique. Cette loi devrait contribuer à promouvoir une application plus efficace du droit de la concurrence dans le cadre de l'économie polynésienne.
    Date: 2019
  22. By: YAMAGUCHI Akira; IKEUCHI Kenta; FUKAO Kyoji; KWON Hyeog Ug; KIM Young Gak
    Abstract: In Japan small-and-medium-sized-firms invest less in R&D activities than large firms, which is contrary to the situation observed in the United States. We constructed a new dataset on buyer and supplier relationships and capital relationships including small firms whose number of employees is less than 50 and empirically tested the hypothesis that investments in R&D of buyers and suppliers or capital affiliates have substitution effects on R&D activities of small firms. We found the evidence that is consistent with our hypothesis and results indicating that on the contrary, investments in R&D of buyers, suppliers and capital affiliates complement investments in R&D of large firms.
    Date: 2019–05
  23. By: Ralph Sonenshine
    Abstract: While there has been a significant amount of research covering the causes of merger waves, few papers have rank ordered merger waves based on the causes nor sought to determine which rationale leads to higher bidder payouts. This paper seeks to fill this gap by examining a cross section of large, global mergers across most industries occurring over a 17 year period. I find that merger waves over this period are caused foremost by changing economic and regulatory conditions. It is the behavioral rationale of mispricing, however, that more often leads to higher bidder payouts or merger premiums among acquirers in merger waves.
    Keywords: mergers and acquisitions, merger premium, behavioral, merger wave
    JEL: G02 G12 G34
    Date: 2019
  24. By: EDAMURA Kazuma
    Abstract: In this paper, the impact of spillover pools on patent application behavior of firms in Japan was analyzed empirically using firm-level data from the Survey of Research and Development and the IIP patent database. The spillover pools are calculated with technological distance using the Mahalanobis distance considering the complementarity between technologies for each industry, academia and government. The proxy for firm applications is the number of patent applications. The results of the regression on the count data model employed here show that impact of spillover pools on the number of patent application by firm is positive. Spillover pools from industry, university, and national research institute also have a positive impact on the number of firm patent applications. In addition, spillover pools from basic, applied, and development research have positive impacts.
    Date: 2019–04
  25. By: Simplice A. Asongu (Yaoundé/Cameroon); Joseph Nnanna (The Development Bank of Nigeria, Abuja, Nigeria)
    Abstract: In this study, we examine the role of information and communication technology in complementing information sharing bureaus (or private credit bureaus and public credit registries) for financial sector competition. Hitherto unexplored dimensions of financial sector competition are employed, namely: financial sector dynamics of formalization, informalization and non-formalization. The empirical evidence is based on 53 African countries for the period 2004-2011 and the Generalised Method of Moments (GMM) with forward orthogonal deviations. The findings differ across financial sectors in terms of marginal, net and threshold effects. By introducing the concept of financialization, the study unites two streams of research by: improving the macroeconomic literature on measuring financial development and responding to an evolving field of development literature by means of informal finance. Moreover, a practical method by which to disentangle the effects of reducing information asymmetry on various financial sectors is suggested. Policy implications are discussed.
    Keywords: Information sharing; Banking competition; Africa
    JEL: G20 G29 L96 O40 O55
    Date: 2018–01
  26. By: Simona Gamba (Department of Economics (University of Verona)); Laura Magazzini (Department of Economics (University of Verona)); Paolo Pertile (Department of Economics (University of Verona))
    Abstract: Since the early 80s, orphan drug regulations have been introduced to stimulate R&D for rare diseases. We develop a theoretical model to study the heterogeneous impact on optimal R&D decisions of the incentives for diseases with different levels of prevalence. We show the mechanisms through which the type of incentives deployed by orphan drug regulations may stimulate R&D more for orphan diseases with comparatively high prevalence, thus increasing inequality within the class of orphan diseases. Using data from the Food and Drug Administration on the number of orphan designations, our empirical analysis shows that, while R&D has increased over time for all orphan diseases, the increase has been much greater for the less rare. According to our baseline specification, the difference between the predicted number of orphan designations for a disease belonging to the highest and the lowest class of prevalence is 5.6 times larger after 2008 than it was in 1983. Our findings support the idea that the type of incentives in place may be responsible for this increase in inequality within orphan diseases.
    Keywords: pharmaceuticals, innovation, orphan regulations, market size, inequality
    JEL: I14 I18 O31 O38 C35
    Date: 2019–06
  27. By: Chi Kong Chyong (University of Cambridge)
    Keywords: Natural gas, European single gas market, security of supply, regulatory policy
    JEL: L94
    Date: 2019–02
  28. By: Avichai Snir (Department of Banking and Finance, Netanya Academic College, Israel); Daniel Levy (Department of Economics, Bar-Ilan University, Israel; Department of Economics, Emory University, USA; Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis)
    Abstract: 9-ending prices are a dominant feature of many retail settings, which according to the existing literature, is because consumers perceive them as being relatively low. Are 9-ending prices really lower than comparable non 9-ending prices? Surprisingly, the empirical evidence on this question is scarce. We use 8 years of weekly scanner price data with over 98 million price observations to document four findings. First, at the category level, 9-ending prices are usually higher, on average, than non 9-ending prices. Second, at the product level, in most cases, 9-ending prices are, on average, higher than prices with other endings. Third, sale prices are more likely to be non-9 ending than the corresponding regular prices. Fourth, among sale prices, 9-ending prices are often lower, on average, than comparable non 9-ending prices. The first three findings imply that although consumers may associate 9-ending prices with low prices, the data indicates otherwise. The fourth finding offers a possible explanation for this misperception. Retailers may be using 9-ending prices to draw consumers' attention to particularly large price cuts during sales, which perhaps conditions the shoppers to associate 9-ending prices with low prices.
    Keywords: Behavioral Pricing, Psychological Prices, Price Perception, Image Effect, 9-Ending Prices, Price Points, Regular Prices, Sale Prices
    JEL: M30 M31 L11 L16 L81 D12 D22 D40 D90 D91 E31
    Date: 2019–06

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