nep-com New Economics Papers
on Industrial Competition
Issue of 2020‒09‒07
23 papers chosen by
Russell Pittman
United States Department of Justice

  1. Allocating Investments in Conglomerate Mergers: A Game Theoretic Approach By Jose de Jesus Herrera-Velasquez
  2. Market Power and the Incentive to Innovate: A Return to Schumpeter and Arrow By Todorova, Tamara
  3. Collusion in Two-Sided Markets By Yassine Lefouili; Joana Pinho
  4. Developing international perspectives on digital competition policy By Sean F. Ennis; Amelia Fletcher
  5. The Late Emerging Consensus Among American Economists on Antitrust Laws in the Second New Deal (1935-1941) (Revised Version) By Thierry Kirat; Frederic Marty
  6. Empowering consumers to reduce corporate tax avoidance: Theory and Experiments By Fatas, Enrique; Morales, Antonio J.; Sonntag, Axel
  7. Generalized linear competition: From pass-through to policy By Genakos, C.; Grey, F.; Ritz, R.
  8. Rules of Origin and Market Power By Chung, Wanyu; Perroni, Carlo
  9. Digitalization in Two-Sided Platform By Filomena Garcia; Muxin Li
  10. Corporate self-regulation of imperfect competition. By Herve Cres; Mich Tvede
  11. Data and the regulation of e-commerce: data sharing vs. dismantling By Claire Borsenberger; Helmuth Cremer; Denis Joram; Jean-Marie Lozachmeur; Estelle Malavolti
  12. Games with Unobservable Heterogeneity and Multiple Equilibria : An Application to Mobile Telecommunications By Mathieu Marcoux
  13. Market Power and Cost Efficiency in the African Banking Industry By Asongu, Simplice; Nting, Rexon; Nnanna, Joseph
  14. Algorithmic Pricing and Competition: Empirical Evidence from the German Retail Gasoline Market By Stephanie Assad; Robert Clark; Daniel Ershov; Lei Xu
  16. Entry limiting agreements: First mover advantage, authorized generics and pay-for-delay deals By Farasat A.S. Bokhari; Franco Mariuzzo; Arnold Polanski
  17. Enhancing business dynamism and consumer welfare in Costa Rica with regulatory reform By Alberto González Pandiella
  18. Manipulation and Learning by Peers in Online Marketplaces By Elias Carroni; Giuseppe Pignataro; Alessandro Tampieri
  19. Industrial Organization, Order Internalization, and Invariance By Albert S. Kyle; Anna A. Obizhaeva; Yajun Wang
  20. Technological Foundations for Dynamic Models with Endogenous Entry By Federico Etro
  21. Nonparametric Identification of Differentiated Products Demand Using Micro Data By Steven T. Berry; Philip A. Haile
  22. Latent Estimation of Piracy Quality and its Effect on Revenues and Distribution: The Case of Motion Pictures By Anthony Koschmann; Yi Qian
  23. Economic Resilience: spillovers, courts, and vertical integration By Dimas Mateus Fazio; Thiago Christiano Silva; Janis Skrastins

  1. By: Jose de Jesus Herrera-Velasquez (Graduate School of Economics, Kyoto University)
    Abstract: We develop a model of conglomerate mergers. There are two markets that are not related horizontally or vertically. Each market has an oligopoly structure where the firms compete in a Cournot fashion. The firms cannot merge with a firm in the same market, but they are able to with a firm in a different market. Without a merger, we assume that only the firms in one of the markets can invest in technology to reduce the cost of production. After the merger, the new formed conglomerate is able to use the technology in both markets. Using the technology has a cost of opportunity in the merger scenario, hence the conglomerate has to decide how to allocate the technology across both markets. The model predicts that in a monopoly benchmark, the incentives to allocate the technology are to reduce the costs in the markets with better prospects of prots. In an oligopoly structure, the firms merge if they have incentives to transfer the technology from the original market either to invest in the better markets or to avoid technological competition. We fully characterize how the markets' size and the technological compatibility determine the equilibrium market outcomes and the underlying merger decisions. We derive welfare implications of the equilibria.
    Keywords: Conglomerate Mergers; Corporate Diversication; Game Theory; Resources; Multimarket Competition
    Date: 2020–08
  2. By: Todorova, Tamara
    Abstract: Using a simple linear demand and marginal cost function, we demonstrate that both competition and monopoly have incentives to innovate since this increases their profit levels. However, our results show that perfect competition is more motivated to innovate since the increase in the profit is greater with the same cost reduction and the same innovation. We also conclude that a more drastic innovation brings greater rent to the monopolist and reduces the advantages of perfect competition over monopoly. It could be presumed that monopoly firms would be attracted to more substantive inventions rather than non-drastic innovations.
    Keywords: competition,monopoly,innovation,profit
    JEL: D23 D24 D41 D42 L12 O31 O32
    Date: 2020
  3. By: Yassine Lefouili; Joana Pinho
    Abstract: This paper explores the incentives for, and the effects of, collusion in prices between two-sided platforms. We characterize the most profitable sustainable agreement when platforms collude on both sides of the market and when they collude on a single side of the market. Under two-sided collusion, prices on both sides are higher than the competitive prices, implying that agents on both sides become worse off as compared to the competitive outcome. An increase in cross-group externalities makes two-sided collusion harder to sustain, and reduces the harm from collusion suffered by the agents on a given side as long as the collusive price on that side is lower than the monopoly price. When platforms collude on a single side of the market, the price on the collusive side is lower (higher) than the competitive price if the magnitude of the cross-group externalities exerted on that side is sufficiently large (small). As a result, one-sided collusion may benefit the agents on the collusive side and harm the agents on the competitive side.
    Keywords: Collusion; Two-sided markets; Cross-group externalities
    JEL: L41 D43
    Date: 2020–04
  4. By: Sean F. Ennis (Centre for Competition Policy and Norwich Business School, University of East Anglia); Amelia Fletcher (Centre for Competition Policy and Norwich Business School, University of East Anglia)
    Abstract: The year 2019 was a turning point in the debate around how to address competition issues in digital platform markets. At the start of the year, the focus was on reform of competition law. By July, there had been calls – on both sides of the Atlantic – for pro-competitive ex ante regulation. This paper considers these developments through the lens of three influential expert reports, from the EC, UK and US. While the reports offer similar diagnoses of the underlying economic drivers of competition concerns in digital platform markets, they reach somewhat different policy conclusions. The EC report, which was commissioned first, highlights recommendations for antitrust. While it recognises that a regulatory regime may be needed in the longer run, this option is not considered in any detail. By contrast, the UK and US expert reports argue strongly for ex ante regulation. There are other differences too. While the US and EC experts were inclined to relax or reverse burdens of proof for both mergers and abuse of dominance, albeit in specified circumstances only, the UK experts did not recommend this. This paper compares these reports under the categories of mergers, dominance, data, regulation, and international.
    Keywords: Antitrust, Competition Policy, Digital Markets, Platforms, Merger Policy, Regulation, Big Data
    JEL: K21 L13 L40 L50 L86
    Date: 2020–08–24
  5. By: Thierry Kirat; Frederic Marty
    Abstract: This paper presents the late convergence process from American economists that led them to support a strong antitrust enforcement in the Second New Deal despite their long-standing distrust toward this legislation. The paper presents the path from which institutionalist economists, on one side, and members of the First Chicago School, on the other one, have converged on supporting the President F.D. Roosevelt administration towards reinvigorating antitrust law enforcement as of 1938, putting aside their initial preferences for a regulated competition model or for a classical liberalism. The appointment of Thurman Arnold at the head of the Antitrust Division in 1938 gave the impetus to a vigorous antitrust enforcement. The 1945 Alcoa decision crafted by Judge Hand embodied the results of this convergence: in this perspective, the purpose of antitrust law enforcement does consist in preventing improper uses of economic power. Read the first version of this publication
    Keywords: Antitrust,Efficiency,Economic Power,Institutional Economics,Chicago School,New Deal,
    JEL: B25 K21 L40 N42
    Date: 2020–08–25
  6. By: Fatas, Enrique (Center for Social Norms and Behavioral Dynamics, University of Pennsylvania and School of Management, Universidad ICESI); Morales, Antonio J. (School of Economics, University of Malaga); Sonntag, Axel (Institute for Advanced Studies Vienna and Vienna Center for Experimental Economics, University of Vienna)
    Abstract: We analyze corporate tax avoidance in a theoretical model and in a stylized experimental Bertrand setting in which symmetric firms and consumers sell and buy a homogeneous product, when human participants make decisions as firms and consumers. We investigate how market power and information disclosure of firms’ tax avoidance behavior impacts corporate tax avoidance and market competition. By imposing a tax rating, corporate tax behavior becomes more transparent, and consumers actively and costly boycott firms that do not pay their taxes. Firms adapt and anticipate consumer boycotts and increase tax payments, and prices. When rating disclosure is voluntary, the positive effect on corporate tax compliance vanishes in large markets.
    Keywords: tax avoidance, policy measure, tax rating, transparency, lab experiment
    JEL: H26 C92 D78 D82 L15
    Date: 2020–08
  7. By: Genakos, C.; Grey, F.; Ritz, R.
    Abstract: Economic policy and shifts in input market prices often have significant effects on the marginal costs of firms and can prompt strategic responses that make their impact hard to predict. We introduce “generalized linear competition” (GLC), a new model that nests many existing theories of imperfect competition. We show how firm-level cost pass-through is a sufficient statistic to calculate the impact of a cost shift on an individual firm’s profits. GLC sidesteps estimation of a demand system and requires no assumptions about the mode of competition, rivals’ technologies and strategies, or “equilibrium”. In an empirical application to the US airline market, we demonstrate GLC’s usefulness for ex ante policy evaluation and identify the winners and losers of climate-change policy. We also show how GLC’s structure, under additional assumptions, can be used for welfare analysis and to endogenize the extent of regulation.
    Keywords: Pass-through, imperfect competition, regulation, carbon pricing, airlines, political economy
    JEL: D43 H23 L51 L93
    Date: 2020–08–18
  8. By: Chung, Wanyu (University of Birmingham and CEPR); Perroni, Carlo (University of Warwick and CESifo)
    Abstract: We study how domestic content requirements in Free Trade Areas (FTAs) affect market power and market structure in concentrated intermediate goods markets. We show that content requirements increase oligopolistic markups beyond the level that would obtain under an equivalent import tariff, and we document patterns in Canadian export data and US producer price data that align with the model’s predictions : producers of intermediate goods charge comparatively higher prices when the associated final goods producers are more constrained by FTA origin requirements and by Most Favoured Nation (MFN) tariffs for both intermediate and final non-FTA goods.
    Keywords: Free Trade Areas ; Content Requirements ; Market Power JEL codes: F12 ; F13 ; F14 ; D43
    Date: 2020
  9. By: Filomena Garcia; Muxin Li
    Abstract: In this paper we study the effects of the introduction of a new two sided platform endowed with artificial intelligence in a market where a firm provides a brick and mortar platform to buyers and sellers. In our theoretical model we show that the decision of whether to introduce the new platform depends on the reduction of the search cost for the consumers. We also show that the introduction of the platform enlarges the market with more consumers using both platforms. Finally we study the welfare effect of the introduction of the platform opening the discussion on whether certain artificial intelligence devices for shopping should be regulated.
    Keywords: e-Commerce; Intermediary; Two-sided markets
    JEL: L1 L2 L8
    Date: 2020–04
  10. By: Herve Cres (New York University in Abu Dhabi); Mich Tvede (University of East Anglia)
    Abstract: We consider Cournot competition in general equilibrium. Decisions in firms are taken by majority voting. Naturally, interests of voters–shareholders or stakeholders–depend on their endowments and portfolios. We introduce two notions of local Cournot-Walras equilibria to overcome difficulties arising from non-concavity of profit functions and multiplicity of equilibrium prices. We show existence of local Cournot-Walras equilibria, and characterize distributions of voting weights for which equilibrium allocations are Pareto optimal. We discuss the performance of various governances and highlight the importance of financial markets in regulating large firms.
    Keywords: Cournot-Walras equilibrium Majority voting Pareto optimality Shareholder governance Stakeholder democracy Walrasian equilibria
    JEL: D41 D43 D51 D61 D71
    Date: 2020–01–02
  11. By: Claire Borsenberger; Helmuth Cremer (TSE - Toulouse School of Economics - UT1 - Université Toulouse 1 Capitole - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement); Denis Joram; Jean-Marie Lozachmeur (TSE - Toulouse School of Economics - UT1 - Université Toulouse 1 Capitole - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement); Estelle Malavolti (ENAC - Ecole Nationale de l'Aviation Civile, TSE - Toulouse School of Economics - UT1 - Université Toulouse 1 Capitole - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement)
    Abstract: This paper considers an e-commerce market wherein a vertically integrated marketplace competes downstream with a single retailer and upstream with an independent parcel delivery operator. Because of the information collected by the marketplace on customersíhabits and preferences, the integrated parcel delivery operator has lower delivery costs than its competitor. Products are di§erentiated according to the retailer and the parcel operator who delivers them. The representation of product di§erentiation is inspired by the Anderson, De Palma and Thisse (2002) discrete choice model. We study several scenarios each representing a speciÖc policy implemented to regulate the marketplace. The Örst one is a data sharing policy. The integrated marketplace has to share its information with the other delivery operator which in turn will lower this operatorís cost of delivering the marketplaceís product. The second one is vertical separation under which the parcel delivery operator previously owned and managed by the marketplace becomes independent. Finally we consider a full dismantlement scenario under which there is both vertical and horizontal separation. We show that the optimal policy is either complete dismantlement or data sharing. The relative impacts on consumer surplus and total welfare of these two options involve a tradeo§ between the increased competition implied by complete dismantling and the data related delivery cost advantage achieved under data sharing. When this cost advantage is small, completely dismantling dominates, while data sharing is the best policy when the cost advantage is large.
    Keywords: E-commerce,delivery operators,vertical integration,platform regulation,data sharing,dismantling
    Date: 2020–07–03
  12. By: Mathieu Marcoux (Université de Montréal, CIREQ)
    Abstract: To shed light on the limited success of competition enhancing policies in mobile telecommunications, I estimate a game of transceivers’ locations between national incumbents and a new entrant in Canada. I recover player-specific unobserved heterogeneity from bids for spectrum licenses to address the unavailability of regressors required to identify incumbents’ responses to the new entrant’s decisions. I find that incumbents benefitting from important economies of density is a plausible explanation for policies’ drawbacks. I then evaluate the equilibrium effect of subsidizing the new entrant’s transceivers and find that this alternative proposition increases its investments while only slightly modifying incumbents.
    Keywords: multiple equilibria, unobserved heterogeneity, empirical games, telecommunications
    JEL: C57 L11
    Date: 2019–02
  13. By: Asongu, Simplice; Nting, Rexon; Nnanna, Joseph
    Abstract: Purpose- In this study, we test the so-called ‘Quiet Life Hypothesis’ (QLH) which postulates that banks with market power are less efficient. Design/methodology/approach- We employ instrumental variable Ordinary Least Squares, Fixed Effects, Tobit and Logistic regressions. The empirical evidence is based on a panel of 162 banks consisting of 42 African countries for the period 2001-2011. There is a two-step analytical procedure. First, we estimate Lerner indices and cost efficiency scores. Then, we regress cost efficiency scores on Lerner indices contingent on bank characteristics, market features and the unobserved heterogeneity. Findings- The empirical evidence does not support the QLH because market power is positively associated with cost efficiency. Originality/value- Owing to data availability constraints, this is one of the few studies to test the QLH in African banking.
    Keywords: Finance; Savings banks; Competition; Efficiency; Quiet life hypothesis
    JEL: E42 E52 E58 G21 G28
    Date: 2019–01
  14. By: Stephanie Assad; Robert Clark (Queen's University); Daniel Ershov; Lei Xu
    Abstract: Economic theory provides ambiguous and conflicting predictions about the association between algorithmic pricing and competition. In this paper we provide the first empirical analysis of this relationship. We study Germany's retail gasoline market where algorithmic-pricing software became widely available by mid-2017, and for which we have access to comprehensive, high-frequency price data. Because adoption dates are unknown, we identify gas stations that adopt algorithmic-pricing software by testing for structural breaks in markers associated with algorithmic pricing. We nd a large number of station-level structural breaks around the suspected time of large-scale adoption. Using this information we investigate the impact of adoption on outcomes linked to competition. Because station-level adoption is endogenous, we use brand headquarter-level adoption decisions as instruments. Our IV results show that adoption increases margins by 9%, but only in non-monopoly markets. Restricting attention to duopoly markets, we find that market-level margins do not change when only one of the two stations adopts, but increase by 28% in markets where both do. These results suggest that AI adoption has a significant effect on competition.
    Keywords: Artificial Intelligence, Pricing-Algorithms, Collusion, Retail Gasoline
    JEL: L41 L13 D43 D83 L71
    Date: 2020–08
  15. By: Rakesh Shrivastava
    Abstract: Information Technology has occupied substantial space in our day to day life and in running of businesses. How does society regulate I T providers especially when they operate across the globe, beyond the control of nation-states. How do we balance rewarding tech companies for their innovation, and possibility of unfair exploitation, particularly where I T services are ‘free’. ‘Free’ services are ‘paid’ by consumers by their time, attention and data. This paper examines possibility of promoting use of Cloud computing technology Platform as a Service (PaaS) by regulators as a means to catalyse competition and curb monopolistic power of I T service-providers Key Words: PaaS, Laws for Cloud Computing, I T monopolies, Anti-trust in Infotech. Policy
    Date: 2020–06
  16. By: Farasat A.S. Bokhari (Centre for Competition Policy and School of Economics, University of East Anglia); Franco Mariuzzo (Centre for Competition Policy and School of Economics, University of East Anglia); Arnold Polanski (School of Economics, University of East Anglia)
    Abstract: During patent litigation, pay-for-delay deals involve a payment from a patent holder of a branded drug to a generic drug manufacturer to delay entry and withdraw the patent challenge. In return for staying out of the market, the generic firm receives a payment, and/or an authorized licensed entry at a later date, but before the patent expiration. We examine why such deals are stable when there are multiple potential entrants. We combine the first mover advantage for the first generic with the ability of the branded manufacturer to launch an authorized generic to show when pay-for-delay deals are an equilibrium outcome. We further show that limiting a branded firm's ability to launch an authorized generic prior to entry by a successful challenger will deter such deals. However, removing exclusivity period for the first generic challenger will not.
    Keywords: pharmaceuticals, pay-for-delay, reverse payments, authorized generics, first mover advantage
    JEL: L41 K21 K41
    Date: 2020–01–01
  17. By: Alberto González Pandiella
    Abstract: Regulations of product markets serve legitimate objectives but, when ill-designed, can impose unnecessary restrictions on competition, and therefore on business dynamism, productivity and ultimately well-being. A recent update of the OECD’s Product Market Regulation indicator for Costa Rica shows that there is ample room to improve regulations. Costa Rica’s economic development is hindered by heavy state involvement and high barriers to entry, compared to both OECD countries and regional peers. This paper discusses options to improve product market regulations, based on international best practices. Regulatory reform can improve consumer welfare by boosting competition and thus lowering prices of key goods and services, which in turn increases the purchasing power of low-income households and reduces poverty. By raising productivity, stronger competition will also allow higher wages. Reducing barriers to entry can facilitate firm creation, boosting investment and jobs.
    Keywords: competition, inclusiveness, product market regulations, productivity
    JEL: D4 L1 L2 L3 L8 L9 L5 O54 K23
    Date: 2020–09–04
  18. By: Elias Carroni; Giuseppe Pignataro; Alessandro Tampieri
    Abstract: We study a context in which a seller can increase the perceived value of her product by a costly manipulative action, and buyers’ collective learning can contrast the seller’s manipulation. Each buyer needs to face documentation (effort) costs to understand product value. A buyer alone is never willing to face the cost of effort, as her documentation activity has no impact on the seller’s choices. The intermediation of a platform induces the buyers to exert effort, thereby reducing manipulation. The platform can direct the learning activity by developing a peer-review system or only allowing for individual learning. The choice between the two environments depends on (i) the precisions of the signals that each buyer receives and (ii) the manipulative ability of the seller.
    Keywords: Manipulation, Private Information, Online Marketplace, Bayesian Learning, In- formation Acquisition, Peer-Review.
    JEL: D42 D82 D83 L13 M37
    Date: 2020
  19. By: Albert S. Kyle (University of Maryland); Anna A. Obizhaeva (New Economic School); Yajun Wang (University of Maryland)
    Abstract: We present a one-period model of oligopolistic strategic trading among symmetric traders who agree to disagree about the precision of their private signals. We derive several invariance relationships relating the number of firms, number of firm’s employees, average trade size, price impact, and pricing accuracy to dollar volume and returns volatility. Since a substantial part of order flow is often internalized within firms and does not reach the marketplace, invariance relationships can be modified to account for internalized order flow.
    Keywords: invariance, agreement to disagree, market power, trade size, price impact, pricing accuracy, volume, volatility, market microstructure, industrial organization
    Date: 2020–08
  20. By: Federico Etro
    Abstract: I explore the technological foundations of dynamic entry models à la Bilbiie-Ghironi-Melitz where the endogenous creation of new inputs can generate either neoclassical business cycle dynamics or long run growth. Under a general CRS technology in labor and intermediate goods produced by monopolistic innovators, substitutability between inputs drives markups and profitability of innovations as functions of the number of firms. Decreasing profitability tends to generate a stable steady state associated with a propagation of shocks fostered by endogenous productivity. The decentralized equilibrium is inefficient and I characterize the optimal policy to fix static and dynamic inefficiencies.
    Keywords: Entry, monopolistic competition, variable markups, technology, business cycle.
    JEL: E1 E2 E3 F4 L1
    Date: 2020
  21. By: Steven T. Berry; Philip A. Haile
    Abstract: A recent literature considers the identification of heterogeneous demand and supply models via "quasi-experimental'' variation, as from instrumental variables. In this paper we establish nonparametric identification of differentiated products demand when one has "micro data'' linking characteristics of individual consumers to their choices. Micro data provide a panel structure allowing one to exploit variation across consumers within each market, where latent demand shocks are fixed. This facilitates richer demand specifications while substantially softening the reliance on instrumental variables, reducing both the number and types of instruments required. Our results require neither the structure of a "special regressor'' nor a "full support'' assumption on consumer-level observables.
    JEL: C14 C26 C3 D12 L0
    Date: 2020–08
  22. By: Anthony Koschmann; Yi Qian
    Abstract: Conventional wisdom holds that illegal copies cannibalize legitimate sales, even though previous research has found mixed effects, with illegal copies acting as both a substitute and complement. Yet, a relatively unexamined aspect to date is the quality of illegal copies. Building on product uncertainty and production quality, we propose that higher quality copies can benefit sales when product uncertainty is high, such as during the launch period. Using motion picture and online piracy data, we estimate piracy quality using a latent item response theory (IRT) model based on keyword signals in the copies. An interdependent system jointly estimates movie screens, revenues, downloads, and available illegal copies with piracy quality in both the launch and post-launch periods. We find that at launch, when rather little is known about the movie, higher quality illegal copies demonstrate a positive effect on revenues (sampling). In the post-launch period, however, higher quality illegal copies exhibit a negative effect on revenues (substitution). The findings suggest producers can alleviate product uncertainty through higher quality samples at product launch while diluting piracy quality post-launch.
    JEL: K42 M21 M31 O3
    Date: 2020–08
  23. By: Dimas Mateus Fazio; Thiago Christiano Silva; Janis Skrastins
    Abstract: We investigate the impact of institutions on the transmission of shocks across firms. Using novel inter-firm wire transfer data, we find that suppliers exposed to natural disasters pass this shock to their customers particularly when the customer's court system is congested. Evidence suggests that congested courts amplify spillovers through potential future holdup problems: customers face frictions both in contracting with new suppliers and in obtaining bank credit. Subsequently, customers seem to vertically integrate the production of affected inputs and obtain liquidity by selling their accounts receivables. Our results highlight the importance of institutions in facilitating economic resilience.
    Date: 2020–08

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