We develop a monopolistic competition model with heterogeneous agents who self-select into occupations (entrepreneurs and workers) depending on innate ability. The effect of market size on the equilibrium occupational structure crucially hinges on properties of the lower tier utility function—its scale elasticity and relative love for-variety.When combined with the underlying ability distribution, the share of entrepreneurs and income inequality can increase or decrease with market size. When extended to allow for the endogenous sorting of mobile agents between cities, numerical examples suggest that sorting may increase inequality within and between cities.
Standard measures of competitive toughness fail to capture the fact that, as consumers optimize intertemporally, firms operating today compete with (yet non-existent) businesses which will be started tomorrow. We develop a two-tier CES model of dynamic monopolistic competition in which the impact of product differentiation on the market outcome depends crucially on the elasticity of intertemporal substitution (EIS). The degree of product differentiation per se fails to serve as a meaningful indicator of competitive toughness: what matters is its cross-effect with EIS. We also extend the model to the case of non-CES preferences to capture variable markups.
We study monopolistic competition with symmetric directly additive preferences (generating variable mark-ups) and an endogenous technology choice. Each firm chooses an investment in R&D to decrease its marginal cost. We prove that the equilibrium R&D investment increases with market size (a larger population or trade) only if the price-elasticity of demand is an increasing function. Together with the output levels, such equilibrium investments may be socially excessive or insufficient, depending on whether the elasticity of the subutility is increasing or decreasing. The main implication is that opening up to free trade can foster R&D through variable mark-ups.
This paper compares the market equilibria in a differentiated industry under Cournot, Bertrand, and monopolistic competition. This is accomplished in a one-sector economy where consumers are endowed with separable preferences. When firms are free to enter the market, monopolistically competitive firms charge lower prices than oligopolistic firms, while the mass of varieties provided by the market is smaller under the former than the latter. If the economy is sufficiently large, Cournot, Bertrand and Chamberlin solutions converge toward the same market outcome, which may be a competitive or a monopolistically competitive equilibrium, depending on the nature of preferences.
Online reviews have become one of the most effective tools to influence consumer behavior and level of sales. In this paper we consider determinants of online reviews and ratings. The study is based on more than three thousand online reviews from Russian consumers of durable goods (electronics and home appliances). We found a significant difference in the level of influence between new and old reviews. Moreover, the higher the total numbers of reviews available, the higher the number of reviews taken into account by a particular consumer. Another finding is that both average online rank and price of a product are positively correlated with variance of reviews about that product. Based on differences in the effectiveness of information transmission about quality, products were divided into two categories: experience goods and search goods. We provide an econometric model that helps explain not only the dynamic but also the direction of consumers’ ranking of a product depending on the number and content of existing reviews.
We study how technological progress in manufacturing and transportation to-gether with migration costs interact to shape the space-economy. Rising labor productivity in the manufacturing sector fosters the agglomeration of activities, whereas falling transport costs associated with technological and organizational in-novations fosters their dispersion. Since these two forces have been at work for a long time, the final outcome must depend on how drops in the costs of producing and trading goods interact with the various costs borne by migrants. Finally, when labor is heterogeneous, the most efficient workers of the less productive region are the first to move to the more productive region.
We study the relationship between income and environmental quality based on modern Russian city-level data. The paper aims at testing whether the environmental Kuznets curve relationship between air pollution and average monthly wages holds in Russian cities and towns. Our preliminary results support the presence of an inverted U-shaped function of wages and reveal significant spatial autocorrelation of air pollution indicators of Russian cities and towns.
We derive a simple necessary and sufficient condition on preferences for the market outcome to be socially optimal under monopolistic competition with input-output (IO) linkages. Preferences that satisfy this condition are typically non-CES and display pro-competitive effects, although they converge to the CES when IO linkages become negligibly weak. We show that the equilibrium with pro-competitive effects may deliver both excess and insufficient entry of firms in equilibrium.
We study a general model of multi-dimensional screening for discrete types of consumers without the single-crossing condition or any other essential restrictions. Such generality motivates us to introduce graph theory into optimization by treating each combination of active constraints as a digraph. Our relaxation of the constraints (a slackness parameter) excludes bunching and cycles among the constraints. Then, the only possible solution structures arerivers, which are acyclic rooted digraphs, and the Lagrange multipliers can be used to characterize the solutions. Relying on these propositions, we propose and justify an optimization algorithm. In the experiments, its branch-and-bound version with a good starting plan shows fewer iterations than a complete search among all rivers.
We develop a monopolistic competition model where firms are multi-product, and the elasticity of substitution on the consumption side is variable. The cost function, otherwise very general, is such that expanding firm-level product range (scope) reduces marginal costs of production of existing varieties. This captures scale-scope spillovers, i.e. within-firm spillovers between the scale at which firms operate and their choices of scope. Firm-level product ranges and the mass of firms are endogenously determined. We show how an increase in market size affects the market outcome. A larger market leads to lower prices, larger outputs, and a wider industry-level product range. Firm-level product ranges expand (shrink) under sufficiently strong (weak) scale-scope spillovers. Last, under strong (weak) spillovers, the number of firms increases less (more) than proportionally to the market size.
This chapter addresses the economics of regional disparities and transport policies in the European Union, offering an explanation for the uneven development of regions. We show that recent developments in spatial economics highlight the fact that trade is costly and location still matters. Since the drop in transport costs and the emergence of a knowledge-based economy, the proximity to natural resources has been replaced by new drivers of regional growth that rely on human capital and cognitive skills. Regions with a high market potential – those where demand is high and transport costs low – are likely to attract more firms and pay higher wages, which leads to sizable and lasting regional disparities. As a consequence, investments in interregional transport policies may not deliver their expected effects. In addition, new information and communication devices foster the fragmentation of the supply chain and the decentralization of activities.
We consider the repeated zero-sum bidding game with incomplete information on one side with non-normalized total payoff. De Meyer, Marino (2005) and Domansky, Kreps (2005) investigated a game $G_n$ modeling multistage bidding with asymmetrically informed agents and proved that for this game $V_n$ converges to a finite limit $V_\infty$, i.e., the error term is $O(1)$. In this paper we show that for this example $V_n$ converges to the limit exponentially fast. For this purpose we apply the optimal strategy $\sigma_\infty$ of insider in the infinite-stage game obtained by Domansky (2007) to the $n$-stage game and deduce that it is $\varepsilon_n$-optimal with $\varepsilon_n$ exponentially small.
We explore the 2007-2008 noticeable liberalization of Russian labor immigration, perceived as a natural experiment. How it influenced the labor market equilibrium and especially wages of certain categories of Russian employees? We use various data, including remittances from Russia, and restore related hike in official and unofficial labor immigration. According to our rough estimate, the mass of gastarbeiters increased significantly, from 3.4 mln in 2006 to 4.3 mln (2006) and then to 4.9 mln (2008). This did not cause additional unemployment, but influenced wages. We follow the Borjas (2016) method of assessing the impact of natural experiments, and we are interested in (equilibrium) wage elasticities and interdependencies among the labor groups in Russia. To reveal the elasticity of equilibrium wages, responding to 2007-2008 inflow of (mostly unskilled) labor, we run difference-in-difference regressions on RLMS data. For some Russian residents, their wages responded to new policy noticeably. Namely, the most affected were the pre-established Asian migrants: they lost about 14-17.5% wages in response to 8%-14% increase in similar working force. The ethnic Russians with blue-collar or low qualification lost about 4.5-5.5% of wages, while the impact on white-collars was insignificant. Arguing about the macro-economic consequences of such liberalization policies for Russia, we thereby point out the negatively affected categories of employees and the degree of their losses, which can be compared with additional GDP generated.