Searching for Service
Since Telser (1960), there is a well-established argument that a competitive market will not provide service due to free-riding. We show that with search frictions, the market may well provide service if the cost of doing so is not too large. Any market equilibrium with service provision has two or more firms providing service, implying over-provision of service as the social optimum mandates at most one service provider. Firms that provide service and those that do not can co-exist, where consumers direct their search to service providers first to obtain service, and to non-service providers later to enjoy lower prices.
In this article, I examine a model of oligopolistic competition in which consumers search for prices but have no knowledge of the underlying price distribution. The consumers' behaviour satisfies four consistency requirements and, as a result, their beliefs about the underlying distribution maximise Shannon entropy. I derive the optimal stopping rule and equilibrium price distribution of the model. Unlike in Stahl (1989), the expected price is decreasing in the number of firms. Moreover, consumers can benefit from being uninformed, if the number of firms is sufficiently large.
Many industries are made of a few big firms, which are able to manipulate the market outcome, and of a host of small businesses, each of which has a negligible impact on the market. We provide a general equilibrium framework that encapsulates both market structures. Due to the higher toughness of competition, the entry of big firms leads them to sell more through a market expansion effect generated by the shrinking of the monopolistically competitive fringe. Furthermore, social welfare increases with the number of big firms because the pro-competitive effect associated with entry dominates the resulting decrease in product diversity.
The paper analyzes oligopolistic competition in a market for a differentiated product. A comparative analysis of competition models by Cournot (output competition) and Bertrand (price competition) under prerequisites put forward by the authors shows that under Bertrand competition the price level will be lower. Whereas interrelation between firms output and profit is ambiguous (if goods produced are substitutes), and depend, other things being equal, on the attractiveness of the good offered by the firm. The results obtained are illustrated using Russia’s automotive market review. In particular, an attempt is made to classify some decisions made by car producers as the one or the other competition strategy analyzed in the theoretical part of the paper.
Brands and brand management have become a central feature of the modern economy and a staple of business theory and business practice. Contrary to the law's conception of trademarks, brands are used to indicate far more than source and/or quality. This volume begins the process of broadening the legal understanding of brands by explaining what brands are and how they function, how trademark and antitrust/competition law have misunderstood brands, and the implications of continuing to ignore the role brands play in business competition. This is the first book to engage with the topic from an interdisciplinary perspective, hence it will be a must-have for all those interested in the phenomenon of brands and how their function is recognized by the legal system. The book integrates both a competition and an intellectual property law dimension and explores the regulatory environment and case law in both Europe and the United States.
The paper explores how EU competition law has integrated so far the concept of brands in different areas of enforcement. Although EU competition law has engaged in multiple instances with branding and product differentiation, brands do not yet constitute an operational concept in EU competition law. This is due to an important uncertainty as to the normative choices that need to be made with regard to the relation between brands and the formation of consumer preferences. The concerns raised by retailer power and the development of private labels also indicate that the existing economic theory on product differentiation may not also provide a complete picture on the effects of brands on the competitive process and ultimately on consumers. Competition law will also need to tackle the issues raised by the development of ‘social branding’ and the dialogic interaction between brand owners and consumers in the constitution of their brand identity.
The paper examines the structure, governance, and balance sheets of state-controlled banks in Russia, which accounted for over 55 percent of the total assets in the country's banking system in early 2012. The author offers a credible estimate of the size of the country's state banking sector by including banks that are indirectly owned by public organizations. Contrary to some predictions based on the theoretical literature on economic transition, he explains the relatively high profitability and efficiency of Russian state-controlled banks by pointing to their competitive position in such functions as acquisition and disposal of assets on behalf of the government. Also suggested in the paper is a different way of looking at market concentration in Russia (by consolidating the market shares of core state-controlled banks), which produces a picture of a more concentrated market than officially reported. Lastly, one of the author's interesting conclusions is that China provides a better benchmark than the formerly centrally planned economies of Central and Eastern Europe by which to assess the viability of state ownership of banks in Russia and to evaluate the country's banking sector.
The paper examines the principles for the supervision of financial conglomerates proposed by BCBS in the consultative document published in December 2011. Moreover, the article proposes a number of suggestions worked out by the authors within the HSE research team.