2,086 research outputs found

    Prices and Coupons for Breakfast Cereals

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    This paper explores the relationship between shelf prices and manufacturers' coupons for 25 ready-to-eat breakfast cereals. Contrary to the predictions of static monopoly price discrimination, we find the shelf prices for a particular brand in a particular city are generally lower during periods when coupons are available. We find evidence that is also inconsistent with dynamic theories of pricing that predict lower prices and coupons after periods of low demand, and find little support for explanations of couponing based on the vertical relationship between manufacturers and retailers. We find some support for models of price discrimination in oligopoly settings that suggest inter-brand competition can cause all prices to be lower than the uniform (non-discriminatory) price. We also find some evidence suggesting that firm-wide incentives may induce managers to use coupons and price cuts simultaneously in order, for example, to meet market share targets.

    Enforcement of Vintage Differentiated Regulations: The Case of New Source Review

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    �This paper analyzes the effects of the New Source Review (NSR) environmental regulations on coal-fired electric power plants. �Regulations that grew out of the Clean Air Act of 1970 required new electric generating plants to install costly pollution control equipment but exempted existing plants with a grandfathering clause. �Existing plants lost their grandfathering status if they made ``major modifications'' to their plants. �We examine whether this caused firms to invest less in their old plants, possibly leading to lower efficiency and higher emissions. We find some evidence that the risk of NSR enforcement reduced capital expenditures at plants. However, we find no discernable effect on the operating costs, fuel efficiency or emissions of these plants.�New Source Review; Environmental Regulations; productivity; and Electricity

    Enforcement of Vintage Differentiated Regulations: The Case of New Source Review

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    �This paper analyzes the effects of the New Source Review (NSR) environmentalregulations on coal-fired electric power plants. �Regulations that grew out of the Clean Air Act of 1970 required new electric generating plants to install costly pollution control equipment but exempted existing plants. �Existing plants lost their exemptions if they made ``major modifications.'' �We examine whether this caused firms to invest less in grandfathered plants, possibly leading to lower efficiency and higher emissions. We find �evidence that heightened NSR enforcement reduced capital expenditures at vulnerableplants. However, we find no discernable effect on other inputs or emissions.This paper analyzes the effects of the New Source Review (NSR) environmental�regulations on coal-fired electric power plants. �Regulations that grew out of the Clean Air Act of 1970 required new electric generating plants to install costly pollution control equipment but exempted existing plants. �Existing plants lost their exemptions if they made ``major modifications.'' �We examine whether this caused firms to invest less in grandfathered plants, possibly leading to lower efficiency and higher emissions. We find �evidence that heightened NSR enforcement reduced capital expenditures at vulnerable�plants. However, we find no discernable effect on other inputs or emissions.�New Source Review; Environmental Regulations; productivity; electricity

    Coordinating on Lower Prices: Pharmaceutical Pricing Under Political Pressure

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    This paper investigates possible effects of political activity on pharmaceutical prices, focusing on the health care reform period. We characterize firms based on their vulnerability to future price regulation and find that the more vulnerable firms were more likely to take various actions to forestall regulation, most notably coordinating on a specific percentage price increase during 1993. Since moderating price increases could have been an effective tool to avert regulation, the coordination we observe is the obvious response of the industry to a classic collective action problem.

    The Guy at the Controls: Labor Quality and Power Plant Efficiency

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    This paper examines the impact of individual human operators on the fuel efficiency of power plants. Although electricity generation is a fuel and capital intensive enterprise, anecdotal evidence, interviews, and empirical analysis support the hypothesis that labor, particularly power plant operators, can have a non-trivial impact on the operating efficiency of the plant. We present evidence to demonstrate these effects and survey the policies and practices of electricity producing firms that either reduce or exacerbate fuel efficiency differences across individual plant operators.

    Pharmaceutical Prices and Political Activity

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    Drug prices have been a conspicuous political issue in much of recent history, but no more so than during health care reform debates in 1993 and 1994. This paper investigates possible effects of political activity on pharmaceutical prices, with a particular focus on the health care reform period. It evaluates the extent to which pharmaceutical companies slowed the rates at which they increased prices in an attempt to preempt government intervention. To do so, we characterize companies based on their vulnerability to future price regulation. We then consider patterns in price movements across companies. The results suggest that companies whose drugs had longer patent lives and who had recently increased contributions to their corporate Political Action Committees (PACs) slowed price increases during 1992 and 1994 more than their competitors. It is difficult to distinguish pricing differences across companies in 1993, perhaps because most companies had pledged to keep price increases below the rate of inflation.

    Cursed Resources? Political Conditions and Oil Market Outcomes.

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    We analyze how a country's political institutions affect oil production within its borders. We find a pronounced negative relationship between political openness and volatility in oil production, with democratic regimes exhibiting less volatility than more autocratic regimes. This relationship holds across a number of robustness checks including using different measures of political conditions, instrumenting for political conditions and using several measures of production volatility. Political openness also affects other oil market outcomes, including total production as a share of reserves. Our findings have implications both for interpreting the role of institutions in explaining differences in macroeconomic development and for understanding world oil markets.

    Local Solutions to Global Problems: Policy Choice and Regulatory Jurisdiction

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    This paper considers the efficiency of various types of environmental regulations when they are applied locally to pollutants whose damages extend outside the jurisdiction of the local regulator. We draw on examples from state- and city-level efforts to address climate change by enacting policies to reduce greenhouse gases. While previous work has noted the possibility for leakage, whereby the polluting sources move outside the jurisdiction of the regulation in order to escape it, we note an additional problem when policies are targeted downstream at consumers of goods whose production creates pollution. Specifically, we show how consumer-based policies can be circumvented by a simple reshuffling of who is buying from whom. We argue that the leakage and reshuffling problems are most pronounced with more flexible or market-based regulations. We conclude that localities may have the most effect on global pollutants when they enact efficiency standards or targeted subsidies.
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