nep-com New Economics Papers
on Industrial Competition
Issue of 2023‒01‒02
24 papers chosen by
Russell Pittman
United States Department of Justice

  1. Self-preferencing and foreclosure in digital markets: Theories of harm for abuse cases By Massimo Motta
  2. Organizational Structure and Pricing: Evidence from a Large U.S. Airline By Ali Hortacsu; Olivia R. Natan; Hayden Parsley; Timothy Schwieg; Kevin R. Williams
  3. Effects of Conferring Business Resource on Rivals By Ajit, Tejaswi Channagiri; Jamison, Mark A.
  4. Competitive Effects of Resale Price Maintenance Through Inventory: Evidence from Publishing Industry By Kawaguchi, Kohei; Qiu, Jeff; Zhang, Yi
  5. Online Reviews and Hospital Choices By Ian McCarthy; Kaylyn Sanbower; Leonardo Sánchez Aragón
  6. How should we think about employers’ associations? By Bryson, Alex; Willman, Paul
  7. Competition Law Enforcement in Post-Socialist EU Member States: The Legacy of Authoritarian Legal Culture, Semantic Dissonance and Skewed Agencification By Jasminka Pecotić Kaufman
  8. Redesigning Automated Market Power Mitigation in Electricity Markets By Jacqueline Adelowo; Moritz Bohland
  9. Market Structure, Efficiency and Performance: Empirical evidence from South Africa’s Healthcare Insurer Market. By Ndlovu, Thabang
  10. Geographical Indications and Welfare: Evidence from the US Wine Market By Chandra, Raj; Moschini, Giancarlo; Lade, Gabriel E.; Moschini, GianCarlo
  11. Price Dispersion and Wholesale Costs Shocks in the Colombian Retail Gasoline Markets By Alex Perez; Juan Sebastián Vélez-Velásquez
  12. Product Market Regulation in Brazil By Cristiana Vitale; Alexis Durand; Pedro Caro de Sousa; Paul Yu
  13. Mixed-strategy equilibrium of the symmetric production in advance game: the missing case By Tasnádi, Attila
  14. Multi-plant Coordination in the US Beef Packing Industry By Schulz, Lee; Pudenz, Christopher C.; Schulz, Lee L.
  15. Capacity coordination and strategic underproduction under cap-and-trade By Guo, Xinyu
  16. Evaluating the US pharmaceutical patent policy By Izhak, Olena; Saxell, Tanja; Takalo, Tuomas
  17. The Inverse Product Differentiation Logit Model By Mogens Fosgerau; Julien Monardo; André de Palma
  18. On the competition between Video OTTs Platforms vs Traditional TV: A Niche Case Study in Greece By Papathanasopoulos, Athanasios; Varoutas, Dimitris
  19. Contingent Payments in Procurement Interactions - Experimental Evidence By Matthew J. Walker; Jason Shachat; Lijia Wei
  20. The Economics of Advice By Winand Emons; Severin Lenhard
  21. Depositor Market Discipline: New Evidence from Selling Failed Banks By Philip Molyneux; Vineet Upreti; Tim Zhou
  23. Bargaining Power in the Agricultural Land Market By Marlene Kionka, Todd Kuethe, Oliver Mußhoff, Matthias Ritter, Martin Odening
  24. What Should Economists Know About the Cloud? A Literature Review on Digital Economics By Leka, Enxhi

  1. By: Massimo Motta
    Abstract: Antitrust agencies all over the world have been investigating large digital platforms for practices which may constitute an abuse of dominance. Here I discuss practices (including "selfpreferencing" and denial or degradation of interoperability) which can be interpreted as foreclosure in vertically-related or complementary markets. I discuss in particular a few high-profile cases involving Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google. I focus on possible theories of harm for such cases and show that both original simple models and well-established economic theories (adapted or interpreted) provide a rationale for anti-competitive foreclosure.
    Keywords: self-preferencing, abuse of dominance, monopolization, exclusionary practices, digital platforms, two-sided markets, vertical foreclosure
    JEL: D40 K21 L10 L40
    Date: 2022–12
  2. By: Ali Hortacsu (University of Chicago and NBER); Olivia R. Natan (University of California, Berkeley); Hayden Parsley (University of Texas, Austin); Timothy Schwieg (University of Chicago, Booth); Kevin R. Williams (Cowles Foundation, Yale University)
    Abstract: Firms often involve multiple departments for critical decisions that may result in coordination failures. Using data from a large U.S. airline, we document the presence of important pricing biases that differ significantly from dynamically optimal profit maximization. However, these biases can be rationalized as a Òsecond-bestÓ after accounting for department decision rights. We show that assuming prices are generated through profit maximization biases demand estimates and that second-best prices can persist, even under improvements to pricing algorithm inputs. Our results suggest caution in abstracting from organizational structure and drawing inferences from firmsÕ pricing decisions alone.
    Keywords: Pricing, Organizational Structure, Revenue Management, Pricing Frictions, Behavioral IO
    JEL: C11 C53 D22 D42 L10 L93
    Date: 2021–11
  3. By: Ajit, Tejaswi Channagiri; Jamison, Mark A.
    Abstract: We examine how requiring platforms to give rivals resources, such as data, affects innovation. Using simulations in which an initial firm obtains a head start on rivals and uses that head start to build a valuable resource that subsequently gives it a competitive advantage over rivals when competing in the initial technology, we contrast scenarios in which the initial firm is or is not required by a government regulator to provide this resource to rivals. We develop pricing provisions that incentivize the initial firm to voluntarily provide the resource to rivals. We then contrast incentives to create substitutes for the initial technology.
    Keywords: platforms,innovation,competition
    JEL: L13 L15 L51
    Date: 2022
  4. By: Kawaguchi, Kohei; Qiu, Jeff; Zhang, Yi
    Abstract: This paper examines the competitive effects of resale price maintenance (RPM) through inventory decisions under demand uncertainty. We focus on the Japanese publishing industry where RPM is allowed. We develop and estimate a model of RPM in which price and inventory are determined before demand is realized. Counterfactual simulations show that the RPM model would yield a higher consumer surplus than a wholesale model due to a sufficient inventory and a lower price of new titles. Moreover, we show that the price ceiling due to RPM plays a welfare-enhancing role, whereas the price floor is irrelevant in the industry.
    Date: 2022–11–29
  5. By: Ian McCarthy (U.S. Department of Justice); Kaylyn Sanbower (U.S. Department of Justice); Leonardo Sánchez Aragón (U.S. Department of Justice)
    Abstract: Information problems in health care and the multifaceted nature of hospital quality complicate hospital choice. Online reviews provide an accessible, salient means through which researchers and health care decision-makers can gather information about a hospital’s quality of care, and given their increasing popularity, these measures may affect hospital choice and may have implications for hospital prices. Using the universe of hospital Yelp reviews and inpatient claims data for elective procedures in Florida from 2012 through 2017, we exploit exogenous variation in online hospital ratings over time to identify the effect of online reviews on hospital choice. We find that among admissions for elective, inpatient procedures, patients are willing to travel between 5 and 30 percent further to receive care from a hospital with a higher Yelp rating, relative to other hospitals in the market. We also find evidence that higher ratings translate into higher commercial payments from insurers, albeit with relatively modest magnitudes. Our results indicate that novel, accessible sources of quality information have the potential to affect health care decisions, with potential downstream effects on health care prices.
    Date: 2022–12
  6. By: Bryson, Alex; Willman, Paul
    Abstract: We maintain that employer associations are a specific form of employer collusion that is overt, formal and labour market-focused which encompasses but is by no means confined to collective bargaining. We consider the conditions under which this form of collusion might emerge, and how it might develop. Since the context is the decline of employers’ associations in collective bargaining, we look at how collective bargaining involvement (and its disappearance) might relate to the growth or decline of other forms of collusion in areas such as product and financial markets, and political influence. Our central contention is that employers’ associations continue to perform an important role in helping employers set the terms of trade, albeit one that has adapted to the demise of sectoral bargaining.
    JEL: J50
    Date: 2022–11–22
  7. By: Jasminka Pecotić Kaufman (Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Zagreb)
    Abstract: This paper argues that more than thirty years after democratic and economic transition, the legacy of authoritarian legal culture in post-socialist EU Member States limits the effectiveness of competition law enforcement. Concentrating on Croatia but mindful of the experience of other Central and East European countries that acceded to the EU in 2004 and 2007, we show examples of post-accession case law illustrative of excessive judicial formalism and disassociation between the legal norm and its socio-economic context in judicial interpretation. Also, we explain how the excessively stringent legal standard of proof for cartel agreements, established by Croatian courts post-accession, indicates an incomplete semantic alignment with EU competition rules. Furthermore, we discuss the difference in legal cultures between the judiciary and the competition authority by using the notion of “skewed agencification” and show how slow reception of EU competition law standards by the judiciary adversely impacts the enforcement of competition rules.
    Keywords: competition law, legal culture, judiciary, post-socialist countries, Central and Eastern Europe, Croatia
    JEL: K21 K40 K42 L4
    Date: 2022–12–12
  8. By: Jacqueline Adelowo; Moritz Bohland
    Abstract: Electricity markets are prone to the abuse of market power. Several US markets employ algorithms to monitor and mitigate market power abuse in real time. The performance of automated mitigation procedures is contingent on precise estimates of firms’ marginal production costs. Currently, marginal cost are inferred from the past offers of a plant. We present new estimation approaches and compare them to the currently applied benchmark method. We test the performance of all the approaches on auction data from the Iberian power market. The results show that our novel approaches outperform the benchmark approach significantly, reducing the mean absolute estimation error from 11.53 €/MWh to 2.77 €/MWh for our most precise alternative approach. Applying this result to a market mitigation simulation we find sizeable overall welfare gains and welfare transfers from supplier to buyer surplus. Our research contributes to accurate monitoring of market power and improved automated mitigation. Although we focus on power markets, our findings are applicable to monitoring of renewable energy tenders or market power surveillance in rail and air traffic.
    Keywords: Regulation, automated mitigation procedure, best-response pricing, market power, Electricity, mark-up
    JEL: D22 D43 D44 D47 L13 L94
    Date: 2022
  9. By: Ndlovu, Thabang
    Abstract: This study assessed the relationship between market structure, conduct and performance in the South African healthcare insurer market for the period 2011 to 2017 using data obtained from the Council of Medical Schemes. Three hypotheses were tested: the structure-conduct-performance (SCP) paradigm, the relative market power (RMP) paradigm and the efficient structure (ES) hypothesis. The empirical evidence reveals that both the SCP and ES hypotheses can be rejected in relation to South African medical schemes. The empirical evidence reveals support for differing hypotheses for open and restricted medical schemes. Moreover, the empirical results suggest that the market for restricted medical schemes is highly concentrated and operating under a reduced efficiency level which produces less than desirable outcomes. In regard to open medical schemes, the empirical results reveal strong support for the RMP hypothesis which suggests that open medical schemes with more differentiated product and/or service offerings will achieve higher market share, be in a position to exercise market power and thus able to set higher prices and earn higher profit.
    Keywords: Healthcare Insurance, DEA, Competition, Market Structure, Market Conduct, Market Performance, South Africa
    JEL: L00 L11 L22
    Date: 2022–11–30
  10. By: Chandra, Raj; Moschini, Giancarlo; Lade, Gabriel E.; Moschini, GianCarlo
    Abstract: A systematic component of wine quality is believed to depend on the geo-climatic factors of its production conditions. This belief has long been a motivation for the development of geographical indications for wines. In the United States, American Viticulture Areas (AVAs) represent the most common geographic factor firms use to differentiate their products. In this paper, we estimate a discrete choice model of US wine demand to study the market and welfare impact of AVAs. Specifically, we develop a two-level nested logit choice model, featuring many wine products and characteristics--including wine type, brands, and varietals, in addition to AVAs--and estimate it using Nielsen Consumer Panel data over the 2007-2019 period. We find significant welfare gains from AVA information on wine labels. Over the period of interest, the welfare gain attributable to AVAs is estimated at about $2.37 billion, with wine producers and retailers capturing approximately 80% of this surplus. Approximately 90% of consumer welfare gains are due to product differentiation and increased variety, with the remaining gains due to price decreases resulting from increased product competition.
    Date: 2022–02–22
  11. By: Alex Perez; Juan Sebastián Vélez-Velásquez
    Abstract: Price dispersion is a prevalent feature even of markets where, arguably, homogeneous good are traded. At the heart of the causes of price dispersion lie the firms’ strategic interactions with their customers and rivals. Consumers’ eagerness and ability to search for lower prices tends to reduce dispersion because it enhances competition. Firms inability to sustain tacit collusion, on the other hand, increases price dispersion. Wholesale costs shock can impact both. We use data on retail gasoline markets from Colombia to assess whether changes in price dispersion following wholesale cost shocks are explained by consumer searching or by firms breaking away from collusive equilibria. We also explore the role played by market structure on the extent of price dispersion. Our findings suggest that changes in price dispersion following wholesale cost shocks are driven by consumers searching more intensely for lower prices. We also find a positive correlation between the number of service stations in a market and how disperse prices are. Our results are robust to alternative ways of measuring price dispersion and alternative ways of defining relevant markets. **** RESUMEN: La dispersión de precios es una característica prevalente de mercados en los que se transan bienes que son presuntamente homogéneos. Entre las causas de dicha dispersión de precios se destacan las interacciones estratégicas entre las firmas y entre éstas y sus clientes. La propensión de los consumidores a buscar un precio más bajo reduce la dispersión porque incrementa la competencia. La inhabilidad de las firmas para sostener colusión tácita, por otra parte, incrementa la dispersión. Los costos mayoristas pueden afectar a ambas. En este documento usamos datos de los mercados de gasolina minoristas colombianos para averiguar si los patrones de dispersión que se observan después de un choque de costos son explicados porque los consumidores buscan más intensivamente o porque las firmas se desvían de un equilibrio colusivo. Además, exploramos el papel que juega la estructura de mercado en el nivel de dispersión de precios. Nuestros hallazgos sugieren que los cambios en el nivel de dispersión de precios después de un choque de costos son determinados por consumidores que buscan más intensamente por menores precios. También encontramos una relación positiva entre el número de estaciones de servicio en el mercado y que tan dispersos son los precios. Nuestros resultados son robustos a distintas formas de definir el precio y los mercados relevantes.
    Keywords: Price dispersion, gasoline markets, wholesale costs, retail prices, Dispersión de precios, mercados de gasolina, costos mayoristas, precios minoristas
    JEL: D82 D83 Q49 L11 L94
    Date: 2022–12
  12. By: Cristiana Vitale; Alexis Durand; Pedro Caro de Sousa; Paul Yu
    Abstract: Appropriately designed and implemented regulations are powerful tools for enhancing economic performance. A strong and sound regulatory framework can mitigate threats to health, safety, and the environment and address market imperfections. However, regulation can also create barriers to the entry and expansion of firms, which may limit and distort competition. Some of these barriers are necessary, but others may go beyond what is needed to address the policy objectives and the market failure(s) regulation is intended to remedy. The OECD developed in the late 1990s a set of Product Market Regulation (PMR) Indicators to assess how competition-friendly the regulatory framework of a country is across a range of sectors and regulatory areas. A regulatory framework that facilitates competition, for example, can stimulate productivity by encouraging the efficient allocation of resources and promoting innovation and growth. This paper examines a range of product markets, services, and network industries in Brazil, relying on the results of the PMR indicators, and identifies areas where country’s regulations could be brought more in line with international best practices. These include the governance of state-owned enterprises, interaction between policy makers and interest groups, network sectors, and professional services.
    Keywords: Brazil, Competition, Governance of State-Owned Enterprises, Network Sectors, Product Market Regulation, Productivity, Professional Services, Public Procurement, Regulation
    JEL: D4 K23 L1 L2 L3 L5 L8 L9
    Date: 2022–12–08
  13. By: Tasnádi, Attila
    Abstract: The mixed-strategy equilibrium of the symmetric production-in-advance type capacity-constrained Bertrand-Edgeworth duopoly game has not been derived analytically over the entire range of intermediate capacities in the literature. Tasnádi (2020) constructed a symmetric mixed-strategy equilibrium for the production-in-advance game for a large range of intermediate capacities. In this paper we derive for the missing region a symmetric mixed-strategy equilibrium analytically.
    Keywords: Price-quantity games; Bertrand-Edgeworth competition; inventories
    JEL: D43 L13
    Date: 2022–11–28
  14. By: Schulz, Lee; Pudenz, Christopher C.; Schulz, Lee L.
    Abstract: U.S. beef packers openly began employing multi-plant coordination during the lastdecade. Using the Salop Circular City framework, we demonstrate that this leads to wider spreads between downstream beef prices and upstream fed cattle prices. Taken together with market concentration, geography and transportation costs, alternative marketing arrangements, and cattle cycles and related beef packer capacity utilization, multi-plant coordination helps explain farm-to-wholesale beef price spreads that have remained wide absent any obvious market shocks. We find that, as cattle inventories decline, a multi-plant coordinator will permanently shut down a plant before a plant run as an individual profit center will shut down, which is consistent with packer behavior over the last 20 years. We further demonstrate that adding a strategically-locatedpacking plant, owned by a different firm, can narrow the price spread. Our results add new underpinnings to discussions that have often bordered on being repetitive in scope and in policy prescriptions.
    Date: 2022–02–14
  15. By: Guo, Xinyu
    Abstract: This paper presents a two-stage game of cap-and-trade (CAT) regulated production. We show how quantity-based regulation, in the form of individual production or pollution emissions permits, can function as a credible commitment device allowing firms to coordinate their own-production levels and underproduce the quantity cap set by the regulator. Under strategic underproduction equilibria, consumer surplus and production cost efficiency declines, but industry profits increase. This channel for exercising market power under CAT has been overlooked and requires new regulatory countermeasures. Limiting permit accumulation by individual firms can restore first best efficiency but only under specific industry and cost conditions. We show that a poorly designed ownership limit policy can reduce welfare below levels attained without limits. A case study of the U.S. west coast groundfish fishery which is currently regulated under CAT with strict limits on ownership of fishing permits is presented. Evidence of strategic underproduction is inconclusive. We find current ownership restrictions likely prevent firms from realizing economies of scale in production. Alternate policies to counter strategic underproduction forces are recommended.
    Date: 2021–12–21
  16. By: Izhak, Olena; Saxell, Tanja; Takalo, Tuomas
    Abstract: The debate on whether COVID-19 vaccine patents are slowing down the pace of vaccination and the recovery from the crisis has brought the optimal design of pharmaceutical patent policy to the fore. In this paper we evaluate patent policy in the US pharmaceutical industry. We estimate the effect of patent length and scope on generic entry prior to the expiration of new drug patents using two quasi-experimental approaches: one based on changes in patent laws and another on the allocation of patent applications to examiners. We find that extending effective patent length increases generic entry whereas broadening protection reduces it. To assess the welfare effects of patent policy, we match these empirical results with a model of new drug development, generic entry, and patent length and scope. Optimal policy calls for shorter but broader pharmaceutical patents.
    Keywords: Patent policy,pharmaceuticals,generic entry,innovation,imitation
    JEL: I18 K20 L13 O34 O31
    Date: 2021
  17. By: Mogens Fosgerau; Julien Monardo; André de Palma (Université de Cergy-Pontoise, THEMA)
    Abstract: We introduce the inverse product differentiation logit (IPDL) model, a micro-founded inverse market share model for differentiated products that captures market segmentation according to one or more characteristics. The IPDL model generalizes the nested logit model to allow richer substitution patterns, including complementarity in demand, and can be estimated by linear instrumental variables regression using market-level data. Furthermore, we provide Monte Carlo experiments that compare the IPDL model to the workhorse empirical models of the literature. Lastly, we show the empirical performance of the IPDL model using a well-known dataset on the ready-toeat cereals market.
    Keywords: Demand estimation, Inverse demand, Logit, Consumer model, Differentiated products.
    JEL: C26 D11 D12 L
    Date: 2022
  18. By: Papathanasopoulos, Athanasios; Varoutas, Dimitris
    Abstract: The paper examines the competition between traditional TV and Video OTT platforms in Greece. The niche theory has been adopted in order to measure users' gratification fulfilled by TV and OTTs, the competition superiority of each media and the similarity of those two media across seven aspects of gratification. An online survey conducted during first months of 2022 and 355 total feedbacks has been collected. Video OTTs score higher in six dimensions of gratification than TV, except financial benefit. Regarding niche overlap, results show that those media share close levels of similarity in information, ease of use and convenience. OTT's exceed TV in five dimensions of gratification. The highest score on the overall findings of competition superiority is in relaxation, while TV exceeds in financial benefit and information.
    Keywords: media platform,media competition,niche analysis,OTT
    Date: 2022
  19. By: Matthew J. Walker (Newcastle University Business School); Jason Shachat (Durham University Business School); Lijia Wei (Economics and Management School, Wuhan University)
    Abstract: A chief objective of creating competition among suppliers is the procurement of higher quality goods at lower prices. When procuring non-standard goods, it is often difficult to write a complete specification of desired quality in the contract. A moral hazard arises when this quality is costly and determined by the supplier ex post to contracting. In an effort to mitigate this moral hazard, we introduce a correlated contingent payment contract. This contract is awarded through competitive bidding. The winning supplier’s payment is, according to a fixed probability, either the amount of their bid or a quality contingent amount that depends on the bid and an exogenous norm for how a seller and buyer split social surplus. We show, both theoretically and experimentally, there is a “Goldilocks†region for high quality to emerge in which the probability of quality contingent payment is large enough to reward high quality provision, but not too large to induce overly aggressive bidding. This optimal implementation only relies upon preferences for maximizing one’s own profit and the rationality of backward induction. A surprising experimental result is that suppliers earned positive economic profits within this region. We estimate a structural model of bounded rationality to show that risk aversion can explain this result. These results have managerial implications for the design of contingent payments in contracts.
    Keywords: contingent payment, procurement, bidding, risk aversion, experiment
    JEL: C70 C92 D86
    Date: 2022
  20. By: Winand Emons; Severin Lenhard
    Abstract: A consumer wants to buy one of three different products. An expert observes which of the three products is the best match for the consumer. Under linear prices a monopolistic expert may truthfully reveal, may partially reveal, and may not reveal at all her information. The outcome is ineffcient; moreover, the consumer gets some of the surplus. With a two-part tariff the expert truthfully reveals her information. The outcome is effcient and the expert appropriates the entire surplus. If experts are competitive, they also truthfully reveal; here all the surplus goes to consumers.
    Keywords: advice, credence good, horizontal product differentiation.
    JEL: D18 D82
    Date: 2022–11
  21. By: Philip Molyneux (Bangor Business School, Bangor University); Vineet Upreti (School of Management, Swansea University); Tim Zhou (School of Management, Swansea University)
    Abstract: This paper studies depositor behavior following the acquisition of failed banks by healthy banks in FDIC-supervised transactions. Using a US bank branch-based dataset spanning 2007 to 2014 we find that failed bank depositors discipline acquiring banks post-resolution. This appears to be related to features of the acquiring banks’ asset quality and loan composition, but it may also be linked to irrational desciplinary behavior or post acquisition integration issues. We also find some evidence that depositor market discipline may have an impact on the competitive fetaures of local banking markets post resolution.
    Keywords: FDIC, Banks, Resolution, Market Discipline, Depositors
    JEL: G21 G28
    Date: 2022–12–12
  22. By: Levashenko Antonina (Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration); Girich Maria (Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration)
    Abstract: As part of this work, aspects of legal regulation of the listed types of online platforms were analyzed, in particular, regulatory standards within international organizations, including OECD, WTO, UNCITRAL, ILO, as well as practices of countries, including the USA, EU countries (France, Netherlands), Australia, Canada.
    Keywords: online platforms that create infrastructure for equal participants in the digital economy, p2p platforms, OECD, competition, labor legislation, investment platforms, provision of taxi services through online platforms.
    Date: 2021–01
  23. By: Marlene Kionka, Todd Kuethe, Oliver Mußhoff, Matthias Ritter, Martin Odening
    Keywords: Agricultural Finance
    Date: 2022
  24. By: Leka, Enxhi
    Abstract: The climate of technological innovation has presented the world with many solutions, but at the same time, many issues follow. This paper discusses several elements of the backbone network and data centers to encourage researchers to work on this subject and dig deeper into the economic impact, regulation, competition, etc. This paper should be read as a simple guide to this complex industry.
    Keywords: Cloud Technologies,Data Center Localization,Data Storage and Computing,Personal Data
    Date: 2022

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