Essays on competition, market structures and public goods
Doulis, Kimon Theofanis
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Chapter one focuses on optimal pricing in markets of consumption chains. These are markets in which one good is necessary for access to further consumption goods. I analyse optimal pricing for different market structures, focusing on the case of an integrated monopolist and the case of separate firms being in competition across markets, but not within markets. I then compare the outcomes of different market structures using basic welfare measures. I show that, compared to the first best allocation, the allocation implemented under the integrated monopolist tends to have significantly lower consumer surplus and larger producer surplus. Aggregate welfare is surprisingly not much smaller under the integrated firm when compared to a welfare maximising allocation. In some settings the integrated monopolist even implements a welfare maximising allocation. The paper explains and highlights how these results depend largely on which assumptions are made about the information available to consumers. The second chapter contributes towards the existing literatures on lobbying and on media bias by combining and extending features of both. It aims to analyse optimal slanting policies of interest or media groups and their effect on the distribution of public opinion and its evolution over time by introducing an intertemporal model of grassroots lobbying or media bias. I also allow for more general results than existing models by making fewer distributive assumptions and by allowing for further incentives of agents. In the chapter I combine demand and supply side models for bias. A main focus lies on how optimal slanting, the distribution of public opinion and its evolution over time depend on competition. The chapter aims to examine in which circumstances competition in the media market or the existence of multiple rival lobby groups can be detrimental. It shows how this can be the case because competition can create an incentive to split the public up and cater only to the own market. This can lead to a loss of the middle ground and increased dispersion of public opinion. The third chapter aims to extend the existing literature on the (in)efficiencies of voluntary contribution mechanisms for public goods. The existing body of research tries to analyse how group size affects the outcomes of such mechanisms asymptotically, while I also focus on results for given group sizes and the effect of the level of group heterogeneity in combination with group size. Agents are ex post heterogeneous in the existing literature; I also allow for them to be heterogeneous ex ante. This means that agents do not only have different valuations for the public good ex post, but different agents are also perceived differently by other agents ex ante. I show that a form of price discrimination can be used when agents are ex ante heterogeneous. Not using such price discrimination is shown to be costly in terms of efficiency in small groups. Small heterogeneous groups are outperformed by their homogeneous counterparts when price discrimination is not applied. However, this inefficiency in small groups can be eliminated by using price discrimination. The use of price discrimination becomes irrelevant in large groups and heterogeneous groups always outperform their homogeneous counterparts, whether price discrimination is used or not.