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Volume 28, Issue 4, Winter 2019

Does capital structure differently affect incumbents’ responses to entry threat and actual entry?
Chao Ma

Some theories predict that firms with higher financial leverage compete more aggressively in product markets than firms with lower financial leverage, whereas others predict that lower‐leverage firms compete more aggressively than higher‐leverage firms. This paper studies how incumbent airlines’ capital structure affects their responses to Southwest Airlines’ entry threat and actual entry. The results indicate that, when responding to entry threat, lower‐leverage incumbents cut prices more aggressively than higher‐leverage incumbents; in contrast, when responding to actual entry, higher‐leverage incumbents cut prices more aggressively than lower‐leverage incumbents.

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Chao Ma

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Recently Published Articles

Volume 28, Issue 4, Winter 2019 (current issue)

The impact of the number of sellers on quantal response equilibrium predictions in Bertrand oligopolies

Ralph‐C. Bayer, Chaohua Dong, and Hang Wu
This paper studies how increasing the number of sellers in a Bertrand oligopoly with homogenous goods affects the equilibrium price level predicted by logistic quantal response equilibrium (LQRE) and power‐function QRE (PQRE).

Automatic‐renewal contracts with heterogeneous consumer inertia

Johannes Johnen
Automatic contract renewals are a common feature in consumer markets. Since these contracts renew automatically unless a consumer actively cancels, firms can use them to exploit consumer inertia. As a source of inertia I study limited attention and investigate how firms use contract renewal to sell to consumers with different degrees of inattention.

Optimal team composition for tool‐based problem solving

Jonathan Bendor and Scott E Page
In this paper, we construct a framework for modeling teams of agents who apply techniques or procedures (tools) to solve problems. In our framework, tools differ in their likelihood of solving the problem at hand; agents, who may be of different types, vary in their skill at using tools. We highlight three main findings: First, that cognitively diverse teams are more likely to solve problems in both settings. Second, that teams consisting of types that master diverse tools have an indirect strategic advantage because tool diversity facilitates coordination. Third, that strategic tool choice creates counterintuitive optimal hiring practices.

Team formation with complementary skills

Mürüvvet Büyükboyaci and Andrea Robbett
One explanation for the prevalence of self‐managed work teams is that they enable workers with complementary skills to specialize in the tasks they do best, a benefit that may be enhanced if workers can sort themselves into teams. To assess this explanation, we design a real‐effort experiment to study the endogenous formation of teams, and its effect on productivity, when specialization either is or is not feasible.

Dynamic incentive effects of assignment mechanisms: Experimental evidence

Thomas Gall, Xiaocheng Hu, and Michael Vlassopoulos
Optimal assignment and matching mechanisms have been the focus of exhaustive analysis. We focus on their dynamic effects, which have received less attention, especially in the empirical literature: Anticipating that assignment is based on prior performance may affect prior performance. We test this hypothesis in a lab experiment.

Trading places: An experimental comparison of reallocation mechanisms for priority queuing

Anouar El Haji Sander Onderstal
In a laboratory experiment, we compare two auction mechanisms that are designed to improve a queue's efficiency by allowing customers to trade places.

Wage delegation in the field

Sabrina Jeworrek and Vanessa Mertins
By conducting a natural field experiment, we analyze the managerial policy of delegating the wage choice to employees. We find that this policy enhances performance significantly, which is remarkable since allocated wage premiums of the same size have no effect at all.

When the principal knows better than the agent: Subjective evaluations as an optimal disclosure mechanism

Mengxi Zhang
When the firm has some private and unverifiable information about an employee’s ability, it can design a subjective evaluation mechanism, whereby payments are tied to evaluations, to communicate such information. In this paper, I investigate how to design an optimal disclosure mechanism for the firm.

Potential competition and quality disclosure

Frederick Dongchuhl Oh and Junghum Park
This study presents a model of quality disclosure in which an incumbent, through its quality and disclosure choices, influences the potential that a new entrant enters the market.

Volume 28, Issue 3, Fall 2019

Exporting firms and retail internationalization: Evidence from France

Angela Cheptea, Charlotte Emlinger, and Karine Latouche
This paper questions the impact of the globalization of the retail sector on the export activity of origin country agri‐food firms. We use an original firm‐level database of French agri‐food exports that identifies the domestic suppliers of French retailers through certification with the private International Featured Standard (IFS). The results show that IFS certified French firms are more likely to export and export larger volumes than noncertified firms to markets where French retailers have established outlets.

Moral management in competitive markets

Steve Martin
The intrinsic motivation of a firm’s management for engaging in prosocial behavior is an important determinant of a firm’s social conduct. I provide the first model in which firms run by morally motivated managers engage in corporate social responsibility (CSR) in a competitive setting.

Biased recommendations from biased and unbiased experts

Wonsuk Chung and Rick Harbaugh
When can you trust an expert to provide honest advice? We develop and test a recommendation game where an expert helps a decision maker choose among two actions that benefit the expert and an outside option that does not. The results highlight that the transparency of expert incentives can improve communication, but need not ensure unbiased advice.

Wholesale price discrimination: Innovation incentives and upstream competition

Uğur Akgün and Ioana Chioveanu
In intermediate good markets where there are alternative supply sources, wholesale price discrimination may enhance innovation incentives downstream. We consider a vertical chain where a dominant firm and a competitive fringe supply imperfect substitutes to duopoly retailers which carry both varieties.

Repeated interaction in standard setting

Pierre Larouche and Florian Schuett
Standardization may allow the owners of standard‐essential patents to charge higher royalties than would have been negotiated ex ante. In practice, however, standard‐setting efforts are often characterized by repeated interaction and complementarities among technologies.

Technological and organizational capital: Where complementarities exist

Tobias Stucki and Daniel Wochner
This study analyzes the complementarities between technological and organizational capital within enterprises. Our empirical results show that whereas greater employee voice promotes firm productivity when combined with information technology, it harms firm productivity when combined with communication technology. On the other hand, flexible work design is positively associated with communication technology and negatively associated with information technology.

Points mechanisms and rewards programs

Emil Temnyalov
I study points programs, such as frequent flyer and other rewards programs, as a revenue management tool. I develop a two‐period contracting model where a capacity‐constrained firm faces consumers who privately learn their valuations over time.

Can platform competition support market segmentation? Network externalities versus matching efficiency in equity crowdfunding markets

Esther Gal‐Or, Ronen Gal‐Or, and Nabita Penmetsa
We investigate whether, in spite of the existence of cross‐market network externalities, platform competition can lead to segmentation of the two sides of the market served by the platforms.

Updates management in mobile applications: iTunes versus Google Play

Stefano Comino, Fabio M. Manenti, and Franco Mariuzzo
This paper focuses on a specific strategy that developers of mobile applications may use to stimulate demand: The release of updates. We develop a theoretical analysis that shows that developers have incentives to release updates when experiencing a drop in performance. The predictions of the model are then tested using an unbalanced panel of top 1,000 apps in iTunes and Google Play for five European countries.

Volume 28, Issue 2, Summer 2019

Calendar synchronization of gasoline price increases

Michael D. Noel
In many retail gasoline markets with Edgeworth price cycles, large and regular price increases occur on the same day of the week every week, that is, they are calendar synchronized. In this article, I test whether calendar synchronization leads to higher or lower consumer expenditures on gasoline compared to a world with cycles but without calendar synchronization.

Do discriminatory leniency policies fight hard‐core cartels?

Georg Clemens and Holger A. Rau
This paper experimentally analyzes the effects of nondiscriminatory and discriminatory leniency policies on hard‐core cartels. We design a mechanism to form a hard‐core cartel, which allows that multiple ringleaders emerge.  We find that firms create trust among other firms when acting as ringleaders. This signaling effect ultimately facilitates coordination in the explicit cartel.

Political contestability and public contract rigidity: An analysis of procurement contracts

Jean Beuve, Marian W. Moszoro, and Stéphane Saussier
Using a comprehensive set of contracts for a standard product, we compare procurement contracts in which the procurer is either a public administration or a private corporation. We find that public‐to‐private contracts feature more rigidity clauses than private‐to‐private contracts and that the use of rigidity clauses in public contracts rises when political risks are more salient. We argue that a significant part of the increased rigidity of public contracts is a contractual adaptation to limit political hazards from political opponents and interested third parties.

Vague lies and lax standards of proof: On the law and economics of advice

Mikhail Drugov and Marta Troya‐Martinez
This paper analyzes a persuasion game where a seller provides (un)biased and (im)precise advice and may be fined by an authority for misleading the buyers.

Competitive strategy for open and user innovation

Gastón Llanes
I study the incentives to open technologies in imperfectly competitive markets with user innovation. I find that large firms are less open and invest more in product development than small firms, and that firms react to greater openness from rivals by becoming more open.

Value capture in hierarchically organized value chains

Joachim Henkel and Alexander Hoffmann
We study how the structure of negotiations in a value chain affects the distribution of value among its members. To this end, we generalize the Shapley value and the core to hierarchical bargaining situations.

Media market concentration and pluralism

Torben Stühmeier
We study the relationship between market concentration and market variety, and thereby focus on two dimensions of variety, namely on internal variety and on external variety. In our setup, firms can expand their internal variety continuously around their focus point on a Salop‐circle. External variety then refers to the market supply of variety offered by all firms on the circle. We believe that this setting is particularly applicable to media.

Can social media lead to labor market discrimination? Evidence from a field experiment

Matthieu Manant, Serge Pajak, and Nicolas Soulié
In this paper, we investigate the role of social media as a source of information for recruiters to discriminate applicants. We set up a field experiment over a 12‐month period, involving more than 800 applications from two fictitious applicants which differed in their perceived origins, which is an information available only from their Facebook profiles.

Strategic attractiveness and release decisions for cultural goods

Paul Belleflamme and Dimitri Paolini
We study how producers of cultural goods can strategically invest in raising the attractiveness of their goods in order to secure the most profitable release dates. Results are consistent with the theoretical predictions, indicating that higher budget movies are released closer to seasonal demand peaks.

Volume 28, Issue 1, Spring 2019 – Special Issue on Platforms

The economics of markets and platforms

Daniel F. Spulber
Advances in the study of both markets and platforms contribute to economics. Platforms are typically digital markets, although platforms can designate markets generally. So, the economics of markets and the economics of platforms are one and the same.

The reflection problem in network effect estimation

Marc Rysman
This paper discusses the empirical identification of network effects in light of the reflection problem of Manski. I argue that models of indirect network effects present reasonable exclusion restrictions to address the challenges of the reflection problem.

Platform economics and antitrust enforcement: A little knowledge is a dangerous thing

Michael L. Katz
Although the economics of multisided platforms has developed important insights for antitrust policy, there are critical respects in which the body of academic knowledge falls short of providing useful advice to enforcement agencies and the courts. In this note, I identify several areas in which economics research could potentially make significant contributions to the practical antitrust treatment of platforms.

The importance of consumer multihoming (joint purchases) for market performance: Mergers and entry in media markets

Simon P. Anderson, Øystein Foros, and Hans Jarle Kind
Consumer “multihoming” (watching two TV channels, or buying two news magazines) has surprisingly important effects on market equilibrium and performance in (two‐sided) media markets. We show this by introducing consumer multihoming and advertising finance into the classic circle model of product differentiation.

Horizontal mergers between multisided platforms: Insights from Cournot competition

Joao Correia‐da‐Silva Bruno Jullien Yassine Lefouili Joana Pinho
This paper discusses the literature on horizontal mergers between multisided platforms and argues that the Cournot model can provide useful insights into the welfare effects of such mergers.

The status of workers and platforms in the sharing economy

Andrei Hagiu and Julian Wright
We consider whether workers who provide their services through online platforms, such as Handy and Uber, should be classified as independent contractors or employees.

A theory of multihoming in rideshare competition

Kevin A. Bryan and Joshua S. Gans
We examine competition among ridesharing platforms, where firms compete on both price and the wait time induced with idled drivers. We show that when consumers are the only agents who multihome, idleness is lower in duopoly than when consumers face a monopoly ridesharing platform. When drivers and consumers multihome, idleness further falls to zero as it involves costs for each platform that are appropriated, in part, by their rival.

Platform market competition with endogenous side decisions

Jay Pil Choi and Yusuke Zennyo
This paper develops a framework to analyze platform competition in two‐sided markets in which agents endogenously decide on which side of a platform to join. We characterize the equilibrium pricing structure and perform a comparative statics analysis on how the distribution of agents’ preferences affects the platforms’ profits.

Towards a theory of platform dynamics

Luís Cabral
I introduce a dynamic framework to analyze platforms. The (single) platform owner sets prices at the beginning of each period. Agents (buyers, sellers, readers, consumers, merchants, etc.) make platform membership decisions occasionally. I show that an optimal platform pricing addresses two externalities: across sides and across time periods. This results in optimal prices which depend on platform size in a nontrivial way