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Koch T.G.,Federal Trade Commission
International Journal of Industrial Organization | Year: 2014

Asymmetric information can lead to adverse selection and market failure. In a dynamic setting, asymmetric information also limits reclassification risk. This certainty offsets the costs of adverse selection. Using a dynamic model of endogenous insurance choice and price calibrated to the U.S. medical insurance market, I find that asymmetric information is Pareto improving when information is fully asymmetric. However, when insurers can discriminate by age group, but not within age groups, the young benefit by paying less for insurance. The insurance market for the near elderly collapses because it is no longer implicitly subsidized by the participation of the young.

Degraba P.,Federal Trade Commission
International Journal of Industrial Organization | Year: 2013

Recent literature has shown that an incumbent can use exclusive contracts to maintain supra-competitive prices when buyers of the good are also competitors. Most of the models require the incumbent to completely prevent a more efficient potential entrant from entering, and assume that the entrant is exogenously prevented from making exclusive offers. Such models cannot explain how exclusive arrangements can lower welfare when they do not completely foreclose a small rival, when the rival can make exclusive offers, nor can they identify rudimentary relationships such as how a dominant supplier's size affects his incentive and ability to exclude and lower welfare. I extend the intuition of the literature by formally modeling competition between a dominant input supplier and a small rival selling to competing downstream firms. I show that a dominant supplier can pay downstream firms for exclusivity, allowing him to maintain supra-competitive input prices, even when a small rival that is more efficient at serving some portion of the market can make exclusive offers. I also show that exclusives need not completely exclude the small rival to cause competitive harm. The payment the dominant supplier makes for exclusivity equals the incremental rents that the rival's input could generate if exactly one downstream firm sold final goods using it. © 2013 Published by Elsevier B.V.

Garmon C.,Federal Trade Commission
Health Economics, Policy and Law | Year: 2013

This paper explores the impact of employer-provided health insurance on hospital competition and hospital mergers. Under employer-provided health insurance, employer executives act as agents for their employees in selecting health insurance options for their firm. The paper investigates whether a merger of hospitals favored by executives will result in a larger price increase than a merger of competing hospitals elsewhere. This is found to be the case even when the executive has the same opportunity cost of travel as her employees and even when the executive is the sole owner of the firm, retaining all profits. This is consistent with the Federal Trade Commission's findings in its challenge of Evanston Northwestern Healthcare's acquisition of Highland Park Hospital. Implications of the model are further tested with executive location data and hospital data from Florida and Texas. Copyright © 2013 Cambridge University Press.

Koch T.G.,Federal Trade Commission
Journal of Health Economics | Year: 2013

Crowd-out, the switching from private to public insurance, is often found, but estimates are rarely consistent with prior measurements. Cutler and Gruber (1996) found crowd-out in up to half of the newly eligible children, while Card and Shore-Sheppard (2004) found almost none. This paper exploits many regression discontinuity (RD) designs to estimate heterogeneous effects of public insurance eligibility. Crowd-out and its impact on spending and utilization is documented across the income spectrum, but effects are smaller at higher income levels. These differences vary by state and correspond to changes in the reimbursement rates of public insurance plans. © 2013.

Chesnes M.,Federal Trade Commission
Energy Economics | Year: 2015

This paper considers the effects of refinery outages (due to planned turn-arounds or unplanned events) on current petroleum product prices and future refinery investment. Empirical evidence on these relationships is mixed and highly dependent on the size and duration of the outage, the geographic area considered, the level of inventories available at the time of the outage, and the tightness of the market as measured by the capacity utilization rate. Using a detailed database of plant-level refinery outages for both upstream and downstream refining units, I estimate the effects of outages on product prices controlling for the crude oil price and the ability of operating plants to respond to the outage. I also consider the effect of current market profitability on the likelihood of planned refinery outages and the effects of high utilization rates and planned maintenance on the prospects for unplanned outages. I then use plant-level capacity data to analyze the effects of outages, profitability, and utilization rates on future investment decisions of the refinery.Results based on probit and hazard models show that planned outages tend to occur during the spring and fall and during times of relatively low margins as measured by the crack spread, while unplanned outages are negatively associated with the capacity utilization rate. Price regressions show that atmospheric distillation and catalytic cracking outages are positively associated with gasoline prices and the association is stronger the higher is the utilization rate at the time of the outage. The relationship between both upstream and downstream investment and outages is mixed though refiners tend to invest less when nearby plants have made investments in the prior year. While causal relationships between outages, prices, and investment are difficult to estimate due to simultaneity and unobserved variables, these descriptive results show that outages are an important factor affecting refined product prices and future refinery investment. © 2015 Published by Elsevier B.V.

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