143 research outputs found

    FIRMS' STRATEGIES FOR REDUCING THE EFFECTIVENESS OF CONSUMER PRICE SEARCH

    Get PDF
    This paper considers a simple model of competition based on some buyers making price comparisons between two suppliers. The difficulties of making appropriate comparisons are made greater by exclusive dealer agreements and restrictions, and by suppliers trading under more than one name. It is argued that suppliers will set prices using mixed strategies, and that prices become less competitive as price comparisons become more difficult. The implications for competition policy are considered in the light of recent judgements of the UK’s Office of Fair Trading and the European Court of Justice.

    Firms' strategies for reducing the effectiveness of the consumer price search

    Get PDF
    This paper considers a simple model of competition based on some buyers making price comparisons between two suppliers. The difficulties of making appropriate comparisons are made greater by exclusive dealer agreements and restrictions, and by suppliers trading under more than one name. It is argued that suppliers will set prices using mixed strategies, and that prices become less competitive as price comparisons become more difficult. The implications for competition policy are considered in the light of recent judgements of the UK’s Office of Fair Trading and the European Court of Justice

    Cartels and search

    Get PDF
    This paper unifies two significant but somewhat contradictory ideas. First, search costs potentially influence market price equilibria significantly; in many equilibria consumers do not search despite above-competitive prices. Second, cartels must guard against individual members offering lower prices, thereby creating incentives for consumers to search. We develop a simple framework, and then an example, in which whether search takes place depends upon the magnitude of search costs. Three potential equilibria result, dependent upon model parameters. These include a tacit cartel agreement exhibiting price variance and volatility. A policy conclusion is that such market characteristics do not always guarantee non-cartelisation

    Economic integration and human capital investment

    Get PDF
    In this paper we seek to characterise a market for heterogeneous managers created by heterogeneous firms and the decisions on investment in both sector-specific and firm-specific human capital when those decisions are made prior to the realisation of firms' profitability and the degree of markets’ integration may vary. We consider the (Nash) equilibrium and relate this to a first-best allocation. The rent-seeking motives of managers and firms will generally make sector- and firm-specific investment decisions not socially optimum, both with respect to the number of investors and the level of each investment. The effect on welfare of markets’ integration varies with the nature of the skills considered. With more general, sector-specific, skills more integration, by increasing the matching ability of the market, reduces the distortion caused by rent-seeking, and increases social welfare. However, with more specific skills the increased matching ability of a more integrated market, by making managers more mobile, destroys some firm-specific human capital and so reduces welfare

    Educational returns, ability composition and cohort effects: theory and evidence for cohorts of early-career UK graduates

    Get PDF
    An increase over time in the proportion of young people obtaining a degree is likely to impact on the relative ability compositions (i) of graduates and non-graduates and (ii) across graduates with different classes of degree award. In a signalling framework, we examine the implications of this on biases across cohorts in estimates of educational returns. In an empirical analysis, we exploit administrative data on whole populations of UK university students for ten graduate cohorts to investigate the extent to which early labour market outcomes vary with class of degree awarded. Consistent with our theoretical model, we find that returns by degree class increased across cohorts during a period of substantial graduate expansion. We also corroborate the empirical findings with evidence from complementary data on graduate sample surveys

    Effects of acute fatigue on the volitional and magnetically-evoked electromechanical delay of the knee flexors in males and females

    Get PDF
    Neuromuscular performance capabilities, including those measured by evoked responses, may be adversely affected by fatigue; however, the capability of the neuromuscular system to initiate muscle force rapidly under these circumstances is yet to be established. Sex-differences in the acute responses of neuromuscular performance to exercise stress may be linked to evidence that females are much more vulnerable to ACL injury than males. Optimal functioning of the knee flexors is paramount to the dynamic stabilisation of the knee joint, therefore the aim of this investigation was to examine the effects of acute maximal intensity fatiguing exercise on the voluntary and magnetically-evoked electromechanical delay in the knee flexors of males and females. Knee flexor volitional and magnetically-evoked neuromuscular performance was assessed in seven male and nine females prior to and immediately after: (i) an intervention condition comprising a fatigue trial of 30-seconds maximal static exercise of the knee flexors, (ii) a control condition consisting of no exercise. The results showed that the fatigue intervention was associated with a substantive reduction in volitional peak force (PFV) that was greater in males compared to females (15.0%, 10.2%, respectively, p < 0.01) and impairment to volitional electromechanical delay (EMDV) in females exclusively (19.3%, p < 0.05). Similar improvements in magnetically-evoked electromechanical delay in males and females following fatigue (21%, p < 0.001), however, may suggest a vital facilitatory mechanism to overcome the effects of impaired voluntary capabilities, and a faster neuromuscular response that can be deployed during critical times to protect the joint system

    The SHED-IT community trial study protocol: a randomised controlled trial of weight loss programs for overweight and obese men

    Get PDF
    <p>Abstract</p> <p>Background</p> <p>Obesity is a major cause of preventable death in Australia with prevalence increasing at an alarming rate. Of particular concern is that approximately 68% of men are overweight/obese, yet are notoriously difficult to engage in weight loss programs, despite being more susceptible than women to adverse weight-related outcomes. There is a need to develop and evaluate obesity treatment programs that target and appeal to men. The primary aim of this study is to evaluate the efficacy of two relatively low intensity weight loss programs developed specifically for men.</p> <p>Methods and Design</p> <p>The study design is an assessor blinded, parallel-group randomised controlled trial that recruited 159 overweight and obese men in Newcastle, Australia. Inclusion criteria included: BMI 25-40 (kg/m<sup>2</sup>); no participation in other weight loss programs during the study; pass a health-screening questionnaire and pre-exercise risk assessment; available for assessment sessions; access to a computer with e-mail and Internet facilities; and own a mobile phone. Men were recruited to the SHED-IT (Self-Help, Exercise and Diet using Internet Technology) study via the media and emails sent to male dominated workplaces. Men were stratified by BMI category (overweight, obese class I, obese class II) and randomised to one of three groups: (1) SHED-IT <it>Resources </it>- provision of materials (DVD, handbooks, pedometer, tape measure) with embedded behaviour change strategies to support weight loss; (2) SHED-IT <it>Online </it>- same materials as SHED-IT <it>Resources </it>plus access to and instruction on how to use the study website; (3) Wait-list Control. The intervention programs are three months long with outcome measures taken by assessors blinded to group allocation at baseline, and 3- and 6-months post baseline. Outcome measures include: weight (primary outcome), % body fat, waist circumference, blood pressure, resting heart rate, objectively measured physical activity, self-reported dietary intake, sedentary behaviour, physical activity and dietary cognitions, sleepiness, quality of life, and perceived sexual health. Generalised linear mixed models will be used to assess all outcomes for the impact of group (<it>Resources</it>, <it>Online</it>, and <it>Control</it>), time (treated as categorical with levels baseline, 3-months and 6-months) and the group-by-time interaction. These three terms will form the base model. 'Intention-to-treat' analysis will include all randomised participants.</p> <p>Discussion</p> <p>Our study will compare evidence-based and theoretically driven, low cost and easily disseminated strategies specifically targeting weight loss in men. The SHED-IT community trial will provide evidence to inform development and dissemination of sustainable strategies to reduce obesity in men.</p> <p>Trial Registration</p> <p>Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ACTRN12610000699066)</p

    Candida albicans AGE3, the Ortholog of the S. cerevisiae ARF-GAP-Encoding Gene GCS1, Is Required for Hyphal Growth and Drug Resistance

    Get PDF
    BACKGROUND: Hyphal growth and multidrug resistance of C. albicans are important features for virulence and antifungal therapy of this pathogenic fungus. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Here we show by phenotypic complementation analysis that the C. albicans gene AGE3 is the functional ortholog of the yeast ARF-GAP-encoding gene GCS1. The finding that the gene is required for efficient endocytosis points to an important functional role of Age3p in endosomal compartments. Most C. albicans age3Delta mutant cells which grew as cell clusters under yeast growth conditions showed defects in filamentation under different hyphal growth conditions and were almost completely disabled for invasive filamentous growth. Under hyphal growth conditions only a fraction of age3Delta cells shows a wild-type-like polarization pattern of the actin cytoskeleton and lipid rafts. Moreover, age3Delta cells were highly susceptible to several unrelated toxic compounds including antifungal azole drugs. Irrespective of the AGE3 genotype, C-terminal fusions of GFP to the drug efflux pumps Cdr1p and Mdr1p were predominantly localized in the plasma membrane. Moreover, the plasma membranes of wild-type and age3Delta mutant cells contained similar amounts of Cdr1p, Cdr2p and Mdr1p. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: The results indicate that the defect in sustaining filament elongation is probably caused by the failure of age3Delta cells to polarize the actin cytoskeleton and possibly of inefficient endocytosis. The high susceptibility of age3Delta cells to azoles is not caused by inefficient transport of efflux pumps to the cell membrane. A possible role of a vacuolar defect of age3Delta cells in drug susceptibility is proposed and discussed. In conclusion, our study shows that the ARF-GAP Age3p is required for hyphal growth which is an important virulence factor of C. albicans and essential for detoxification of azole drugs which are routinely used for antifungal therapy. Thus, it represents a promising antifungal drug target
    corecore