In "continuous choice" settings, consumers decide not only on whether to purchase a product, but also on how much to purchase. As a result, firms should optimize a full price schedule rather than a single price point. This paper provides a methodology to empirically estimate the optimal schedule under multi-dimensional consumer heterogeneity. We apply our method to novel data from an educational-services firm that contains purchase-size information not only for deals that materialized, but also for potential deals that eventually failed. We show that the optimal second-degree price discrimination (i.e., optimal nonlinear tariff) improves the firm's profit upon linear pricing by about 7.9%. That said, this second-degree price discrimination scheme only recovers 7.4% of the gap between the profitability of linear pricing (i.e., no price discrimination) and that of infeasible first degree price discrimination. We also conduct several further counterfactual analyses (i) comparing the role of demand- v.s. cost-side factors in shaping the optimal price schedule, (ii) examining third-degree price discrimination, and (iii) empirically quantifying the magnitude by which incentive-compatibility constraints impact the optimal pricing and profits.
Climate policies vary widely across countries, with some countries imposing stringent emissions policies and others doing very little. When climate policies vary across countries, energy-intensive industries have an incentive to relocate to places with few or no emissions restrictions, an effect known as leakage. Relocated industries would continue to pollute but would be operating in a less desirable location. We consider solutions to the leakage problem in a simple setting where one region of the world imposes a climate policy and the rest of the world is passive. We solve the model analytically and also calibrate and simulate the model. Our model and analysis imply: (1) optimal climate policies tax both the supply of fossil fuels and the demand for fossil fuels; (2) on the demand side, absent administrative costs, optimal policies would tax both the use of fossil fuels in domestic production and the domestic consumption of goods created with fossil fuels, but with the tax rate on production lower due to leakage; (3) taxing only production (on the demand side), however, would be substantially simpler, and almost as effective as taxing both production and consumption, because it would avoid the need for border adjustments on imports of goods; (4) the effectiveness of the latter strategy depends on a low foreign elasticity of energy supply, which means that forming a taxing coalition to ensure a low foreign elasticity of energy supply can act as a substitute for border adjustments on goods.
The Commission is charged with implementing the Digital Markets Act (DMA). Based on economic and legal reasoning, this paper asks how the Commission can fulfil this challenging task effectively. We make recommendations about how the Commission might prioritize cases, design optimal internal work structures, maximize the compliance mechanism’s effectiveness, avoid reinventing at least some wheels by leaning on antitrust tools and knowledge, and leveraging the Commission’s concurrent antitrust and regulatory powers to ensure the speedy and effective resolution of current and future investigations.
There is no published national research reporting child care professionals’ physical health, depression, or stress during the COVID-19 pandemic. Given their central role in supporting children’s development, child care professionals’ overall physical and mental health is important. In this large-scale national survey, data were collected through an online survey from May 22, 2020 to June 8, 2020. We analyzed the association of sociodemographic characteristics with four physical health conditions (asthma, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity), depression, and stress weighted to national representativeness. Sociodemographic characteristics included race, ethnicity, age, gender, medical insurance status, and child care type. Our findings highlight that child care professionals’ depression rates during the pandemic were much higher than before the pandemic, and depression, stress and asthma rates were higher than U.S. adult depression rates during the pandemic. Given the essential work child care professionals provide during the pandemic, policy makers and public health officials should consider what can be done to support the physical and mental health of child care professionals.
The ability to make accurate predictions relating to consumer preferences is a key factor of a digital firm’s success. Examples include targeted advertisements and, more broadly, business models relying on capturing consumers’ attention. The prediction technologies used to learn consumer preferences rely on consumer generated data. Despite the importance of data-driven technologies, there is a lack of knowledge about the precise role that data-scale plays for prediction accuracy. From a policy perspective, a better understanding about the role of data is needed to assess the risks that “big data” might pose for competition. This article highlights potential complementarities in algorithmic learning, which suggest data-scale advantages might be substantial. We analyze our hypothesis using search engine data from Yahoo! and provide evidence consistent with locally increasing returns to scale. The ability to make accurate predictions relating to consumer preferences is a key factor of a digital firm’s success. Examples include targeted advertisements and, more broadly, business models relying on capturing consumers’ attention. The prediction technologies used to learn consumer preferences rely on consumer generated data. Despite the importance of data-driven technologies, there is a lack of knowledge about the precise role that data-scale plays for prediction accuracy. From a policy perspective, a better understanding about the role of data is needed to assess the risks that “big data” might pose for competition. This article highlights potential complementarities in algorithmic learning, which suggest data-scale advantages might be substantial. We analyze our hypothesis using search engine data from Yahoo! and provide evidence consistent with locally increasing returns to scale..
We build a general equilibrium production-based asset pricing model with heterogeneous firms that jointly accounts for firm-level and aggregate facts emphasized by the recent macroeconomic literature, and for important asset pricing moments. Using administrative firm-level data, we establish empirical properties of large negative idiosyncratic shocks and their evolution. We then demonstrate that these shocks play an important role for delivering both macroeconomic and asset pricing predictions. Finally, we combine our model with data on the universe of U.S. seaborne import since 2007, and establish the importance of supply chain disasters for the cross-section of asset prices.
Political affiliation has emerged as a potential risk factor for COVID-19, amid evidence that Republican-leaning counties have had higher COVID-19 death rates than Democrat- leaning counties and evidence of a link between political party affiliation and vaccination views. This study constructs an individual-level dataset with political affiliation and excess death rates during the COVID-19 pandemic via a linkage of 2017 voter registration in Ohio and Florida to mortality data from 2018 to 2021. We estimate substantially higher excess death rates for registered Republicans when compared to registered Democrats, with almost all of the difference concentrated in the period after vaccines were widely available in our study states. Overall, the excess death rate for Republicans was 5.4 percentage points (pp), or 76%, higher than the excess death rate for Democrats. Post- vaccines, the excess death rate gap between Republicans and Democrats widened from 1.6 pp (22% of the Democrat excess death rate) to 10.4 pp (153% of the Democrat excess death rate). The gap in excess death rates between Republicans and Democrats is concentrated in counties with low vaccination rates and only materializes after vaccines became widely available.
We study the impact of changing choice set size on the quality of choices in health insurance markets. Using novel data on enrolment and medical claims for school district employees in the state of Oregon, we document that the average employee could save $600 by switching to a lower cost plan. Structural modelling reveals large “choice inconsistencies” such as non-equalization of the dollar spent on premiums and out of pocket, and a novel form of “approximate inertia” where enrolees are excessively likely to switch to other plans that are close to the current plan on the plan design spreadsheet. Variation in the number of plan choices across districts and over time shows that enrolees make lower-cost choices when the choice set is smaller. We show that a curated restriction of choice set size improves choices more than the best available information intervention, partly because approximate inertia lowers gains from new information. We explicitly test and reject the assumption that this is because individuals choose worse from larger choice sets, or “choice overload”. Rather, we show that this feature arises from the fact that larger choice sets feature worse choices on average that are not offset by individual re-optimization.
This paper studies the social value of closing price differentials in financial markets. We show that arbitrage gaps exactly correspond to the marginal social value of executing an arbitrage trade. Moreover, arbitrage gaps and price impact measures are sufficient to compute the total social value from closing an arbitrage gap. Theoretically, we show that, for a given arbitrage gap, the total social value of arbitrage is higher in more liquid markets. We compute the welfare gains from closing arbitrage gaps for covered interest parity violations and several dual-listed companies. The estimated social value of arbitrage varies substantially across applications.
More than two million U.S. households have an eviction case filed against them each year. Policymakers at the federal, state, and local levels are increasingly pursuing policies to reduce the number of evictions, citing harm to tenants and high public expenditures related to homelessness. We study the consequences of eviction for tenants using newly linked administrative data from two large cities. We document that prior to housing court, tenants experience declines in earnings and employment and increases in financial distress and hospital visits. These pre-trends are more pronounced for tenants who are evicted, which poses a challenge for disentangling correlation and causation. To address this problem, we use an instrumental variables approach based on cases randomly assigned to judges of varying leniency. We find that an eviction order increases homelessness, and reduces earnings, durable consumption, and access to credit. Effects on housing and labor market outcomes are driven by impacts for female and Black tenants.