nep-ind New Economics Papers
on Industrial Organization
Issue of 2020‒10‒19
four papers chosen by
Kwang Soo Cheong
Johns Hopkins University

  1. Market share transparency, signaling and welfare: Cournot and Bertrand By David Spector
  2. How much you talk matters: cheap talk and collusion in a Bertrand oligopoly game By Lee, Jun Yeong; Hoffman, Elizabeth
  3. From Heavy-Tailed Micro to Macro: on the characterization of firm-level heterogeneity and its aggregation properties. By Dewitte, Ruben
  4. Competition in the German Electricity Retail Business: Innovation and Growth Strategies By Amelung, Torsten

  1. By: David Spector (PJSE - Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement, PSE - Paris School of Economics)
    Abstract: When demand is noisy and firms' costs are uncertain, the availability of market share data increases the accuracy of each firm's information, and it creates incentives for signaling. Taking both effects into account, we find that under quantity competition with a homogeneous good, the availability of market share data has a positive impact on total surplus and an ambiguous one on consumer surplus. Under price competition with differentiated substitutes, it has a negative impact on consumer surplus and an ambiguous one on total surplus. If the cost difference is small, the effect of first-period signaling dominates the effect of second-period full information. Accordingly, in this case, the availability of market share data causes total and consumer surplus to increase in the case of quantity competition and to decrease in the case of price competition.
    Date: 2020–09
  2. By: Lee, Jun Yeong; Hoffman, Elizabeth
    Abstract: This study investigates the impact of cheap talk on price in a repeated Bertrand oligopoly experiment. Each participant plays 20 rounds. Participants are placed in three-person bidding groups where the lowest bid wins. During the first 10 rounds, participants are not allowed to communicate with each other. All three-person groups converged to the zero-profit equilibrium in the first 10 periods. We then play another 10 rounds where participants can text with one another using an instant message system. Some groups were allowed to text before every round, some to text before every other round, some to text every third round, some to text every fourth round, and some to text only every fifth round. When texting is allowed, All groups attempt to collude to raise the price after being allowed to text, but the only groups who can maintain the higher price and converge over time to the joint-profit maximum are the groups who can text before every period. Hence, cheap talk is only effective when subjects can continuously monitor or converse.
    Date: 2020–05–01
  3. By: Dewitte, Ruben
    Abstract: This paper emphasizes the importance of two sufficient statistics to characterize firm-level heterogeneity in the workhorse heterogeneous firms trade model: the Cumulative Distribution Function (CDF) and the mean of firm-level sales. Contradicting the strong focus on the CDF, a close fit to average sales proves to be critical for model performance. Moreover, this average varies largely across finite sample draws due to sales being heavy-tailed, providing evidence that individual firms can influence the aggregate economy. As a result, modeled aggregate trade elasticities and Gains From Trade are unlikely to materialize: they are biased in finite samples and underlying characterizations of firm-level heterogeneity are rejected by the data.
    Keywords: Average productivity, firm size distribution, heavy-tailed Distributions, granularity, gains from trade
    JEL: F11 F12 L11
    Date: 2020–09–16
  4. By: Amelung, Torsten
    Abstract: This paper describes the development of the competition of electricity retail in Europe in general and the situation in Germany in particular. The competition in the retail business has been forcing electricity retailers to spend increasing resources on marketing, sales and customer service. This has led to a fierce competition both especially in Germany as price transparency is quite high. Short-term price adjustments by retail companies are led by behavioral patterns that follow the logic of the prisoner’s dilemma. Suppliers view marketing and sales expenditures as a short-term investment, thus weighing costs of winning new customers against the risk that customers might switch again in the medium-run. In order to escape this short-term competitive pressure, an increasing number of retail companies in the German electricity retail market focus on the diversification of their activities by offering new product lines such as distributed energy solutions, services for e-mobility and facility management. Moreover, there is a trend towards investing in the development of a brand to increase customer loyalty.
    Keywords: short term competition,second-mover-advantage,product versioning,diversification,distributed energy solutions,brand strategy,digitalization,affiliate marketing
    Date: 2020

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