David T. Scheffman
In this comment on James Emshoff's (1993) paper,1 I will begin by briefly summarizing the paper. Then I will give my reaction to the issues raised in the paper from the perspective of an economist and professor of business strategy. As I discuss later, it is the work of Alfred Chandler, Jr., rather than work of economists, that is most relevant to the issues raised by Emshoff. In my view economists must understand the limitations of standard economic approaches to organizational issues in order to begin to make progress on issues raised by Chandler and Emshoff.
Morton I. Kamien and Israel Zang
Research and development (R&D) competition among firms has recently been extended to R&D competition involving research joint ventures. It was previously shown that in an industry conducting cost-reducing R&D followed by competition in the product market, if all firms both fully share R&D information and coordinate investments to maximize pint profits, final products prices are lower, and firms' profits are higher than with information shriving alone, joint profit maximization alone, or no cooperation. In this paper we question whether a single research joint venture (RJV) cartel is the best form of industry R&D coordination. We show that there are circumstances in which splitting a single RJV cartel into several competing ones yields lower product prices. Moreover, we show that in these circumstances, splitting the industry into exactly two competing RJV cartels would be best.
Debra J. Aron
This article examines the role that multimarket operations play in a firm's ability to preempt entry into new markets when presence in a market does not commit the firm to remain there. Success in one market affects a firm's incentives and, in turn, strategic power, to fight a rival fur survival in a related market. This is modeled as a way of attrition, and the risk-dominant equilibrium is derived. The model supports brand proliferation as a credible preemptive strategy for an established firm and also has implications regarding the strategic role of economies of scope and “deep pockets.”
Ching-to Albert Ma and Thomas G. McGuire
The paper analyzes a regulatory game between a public and a private payer to finance hospital joint costs (mainly capital and technology expenses). The public payer (inspired by the federal Medicare program) may both directly reimburse for joint costs (“pass-through” payments) and add a margin over variable costs paid per discharge, while the private payer can only use a margin policy. The hospital chooses joint costs in response to payers' overall payment incentives. Without pass-through payments, under provision of joint costs results front free-riding behavior of payers and the first-mover advantage of the public payer. Using pass-through policy in its self-interest, the public payer actually may moderate the under provision of joint costs; under some conditions, the equilibrium allocation may be socially efficient. Our results bear directly on directly Medicare policy, which is phasing out pass-through payments.
In markets, in which exchange requires costly search for trading partners, intermediaries can help to reduce the trading frictions. This intuition is modeled in a framework with heterogeneous agents, who have the choice between intermediated exchange and search accompanied by some bargaining procedure. The equilibria of such a game are characterized. In the case of a monopolistic intermediary, the tradeoff between the bid-ask spread and the costs of delay during private search determine the intermediary's clientele. In equilibrium the monopolist charges a positive spread. Traders with large gains from trade prefer to deal with him, whereas traders with relatively low gains from trade engage in search. In case of competition among intermediaries, the classical Bertrand result obtains, and bid and ask prices converge to the (unique) Walrasian equilibrium price. Thus, in the confines of the model, the Walrasian auctioneer of the market under consideration can be replaced by competing intermediaries. In addition a multiplicity of subgame perfect Nash equilibria emphasizes the coordination problems inherent in models of intermediation.
This paper studies the order of adoption of a process innovation, thin-slab casting, by U.S. steel makers. A game-theoretic model of technology adoption with capacity constraints indicates that incumbents are likely to trail entrants in adopting process technologies that reduce the minimal scale required to compete. Evidence from the case study also indicates, however, that the sorts of interactive effects emphasized by game-theoretic models may be dominated by the effects of competitors' heterogeneous precommitments.