The behavior of economic agents and market performance Public Deposited

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  • This dissertation addresses issues concerning the behavior of firms, which has significant effects on performance. In the first study, we empirically investigate the effect of the reduction in number of firms on price competition in the U.S. macro-brewing industry. The number of macro brewing firms decreased from 766 in 1935 to about 20 today. Major national brewers such as Anheuser Busch, Miller and Coors have continually gained market share. In spite of the reduction in number of competitors, market power remains low. There is evidence in the literature that changes in marketing and production technology have favored large brewers. However, an intense war of attrition has historically kept prices low. As this war wound down in the late 1980s, the number of firms diminished unabated. Many theoretical models of oligopoly behavior suggest that a decrease in number of firms reduces competition and increases price. We use two different techniques and find that price competition remains high even though the number of rivals has fallen. In the second study, we estimate the life cycle of movies in theaters. In this market there is no price competition. The primary form of competition is through product differentiation in the form of product quality, advertising and genre. We find evidence that the longer the duration of movies in theaters, the greater is the probability of death. Secondly, we also observe that a movie with either higher advertising expenditures or better product quality has a better probability of survival. Thirdly, we find that a movie which faces stiffer competition from substitutes is more likely to have a greater decay of sales. In the third study, we investigate the effect of product recalls due to an unintended acceleration problem on the market value of Toyota. We investigate four cases related to unintended acceleration problems. We find evidence of a significant negative effect on the market value of Toyota in the major recall in January 2010. Following this recall, there were Congressional hearings and testimony of the CEO of Toyota. Congress requested the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to investigate whether or not the fix recommended by Toyota was sufficient to solve the problem. When the NHTSA study concluded that Toyota had correctly solved the problem, the market value of Toyota substantially increased.
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