Sequential Consumer Search with Incompletely Informed Consumers
This article analyzes a sequential search model where firms face identical but stochastic production costs, the realizations of which are unknown to consumers. We characterize a perfect Bayesian equilibrium satisfying a reservation price property and provide a sufficient condition for such an equilibrium to exist. We show that (i) firms set on average higher prices and make larger profits compared to the scenario where consumers observe production costs, (ii) expected prices and consumer welfare can be non-monotonic in the number of firms, and (iii) the impact of production cost uncertainty vanishes as the number of firms becomes very large.
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.