In our globalized economy, information about the costs, benefits, and distributional consequences of lowering trade barriers is essential to policymakers trying to decide if a particular agreement should be supported. This research fills an important gap in our knowledge concerning the effects of reducing trade barriers when firms have some degree of monopoly power.
We focus on research that concerns antitrust policy, economic regulation, and market design. Questions of interest include the following:
• How should we regulate horizontal and/or vertical mergers? Is there a tradeoff between short run market power and longer run investment incentives?
• How should we respond to departures from the competitive ideal in markets; with imperfect information, that are highly concentrated, that are natural monopolies, or that generate externalities resulting from knowledge producing activities?
• How should centralized markets (like health insurance exchanges, kidney exchanges, and school choice mechanisms) be organized?
• What is the optimal design of auctions to procure services for the government, such as highway construction contracts, or to sell government assets, such as spectrum or mineral rights?
• How can policy makers detect and deter collusion?
• How should patent policy be designed?
Many news outlets are struggling to survive in rapidly evolving print and digital media markets. This has caused concern that these markets will be dominated by a small number of firms with political agendas. What can regulators do to prevent this from happening and ensure, as much as possible, that the public is served by a competitive, politically diverse marketplace of ideas?
Why do cable TV companies force people to purchase channels they don’t even like? Wouldn’t consumers be better off if they could purchase channels individually rather than only as part of large packages? Not necessarily. This research shows that channel prices would be higher on average if they were offered individually, and if the increase in prices is large enough it can more than offset the benefits of unbundling.
NHS hospitals in England are rarely closed in constituencies where the governing party has a slender majority. This means that for near random reasons, those areas have more competition in healthcare – which has allowed the authors to assess its impact on management quality and clinical performance.
Does greater regulation of consumer financial products actually benefit consumers? This research, analyzing the CARD act enacted in the U.S. in 2009, suggests that it does. In particular, the act’s restrictions on hidden credit card fees were found to reduce borrowing costs (especially for consumers with low credit scores) without increasing interest charges and other fees and without reducing access to credit.