03-01. Ennis, H. M., and Keiser T.,"Government Policy and the Probability of Coordination Failures"
Abstract: This paper introduces an approach to the study of optimal government policy in economies characterized by a coordination problem and multiple equilibria. Such models are often criticized as not being useful for policy analysis because they fail to assign a unique prediction to each possible policy choice. We employ a selection mechanism that assigns, ex ante, a probability to each equilibrium indicating how likely it is to obtain. We show how such a mechanism can be derived as the natural result of an adaptive learning process. This approach leads to a well-defined optimal policy problem, and has important implications for the conduct of government policy. We illustrate these implications using a simple model of technology adoption under network externalities.
03-02. Herrera, H., and Schroth, E., "Profitable Innovation Without Patent Protection: The Case of Derivatives"
Abstract: Investment banks develop their own innovative derivatives to underwrite corporate issues but they cannot preclude other banks from imitating them. However, during the process of underwriting an innovator can learn more than its imitators about the potential clients. Moving first puts him ahead in the learning process. Thus, he develops an information advantage and he can capture rents in equilibrium despite being imitated. In this context, innovation can arise without patent protection. Consistently with this hypothesis, case studies of recent innovations in derivatives reveal that innovators keep private some details of their deals to preserve the asymmetry of information.
03-03. Gomberg, A., "How many sorting equilibria are there (generically)?"
Abstract: It is shown that in a generic two-jurisdiction model of the type introduced by Caplin and Nalebuff (1997), the number of sorting equilibria (with jurisdictions providing distinct policies) is finite and even.
Abstract: Landsberger, et al. (2001) have identified optimal bidder behavior in first-price private-value auctions when the ranking of valuations is common knowledge, and derived comparative-statics predictions regarding the auctioneer's expected revenue and the efficiency of the allocation. The experiment reported here tests the behavioral components of these comparative-statics predictions using the dual-market bidding procedure, which permits very powerful tests. The results support the predictions that buyers are inclined to bid more aggressively when they learn they have the low value. Contrary to theory, buyers are inclined to bid less when they learn they have the high value. Once information is revealed, bidders tend to move toward better responses, exploiting new economic opportunities. Consistent with theory, the overall proportion of efficient allocations is lower than in the first-price auction before information is revealed. But as a result of high-value bidders decreasing their bids, the expected revenue does not increase on a regular basis, contrary to the theory's predictions.
03-05. Antinolfi, G., and Keister, T., "Discount Window Policy, Banking Crises, and Indeterminacy of Equilibrium "
Abstract: We examine optimal discount window policy in an economy with a linear investment technology and aggregate liquidity shocks. Unrestricted lending at the discount window prevents large shocks from causing banking crises, but leads to indeterminacy of stationary equilibrium. We show how a policy of offering discount-window loans at an above-market interest rate generates a unique stationary monetary equilibrium. Under such a policy, banking crises occur with positive probability in equilibrium, but a proper choice of interest rate can make the welfare loss due to these crises arbitrarily small. We then modify the model by introducing diminishing returns to investment and show that, in this case, the optimal policy may eliminate banking crises entirely.
03-06. Martinelli, C., and Parker, S., "Do School Subsidies Promote Human Capital Accumulation among the Poor?"
Abstract: We investigate the hypothesis that conditioning transfers to poor families on school attendance leads to a reallocation of household resources enhancing the human capital of the next generation, via the effect of the conditionality on the shadow price of human capital. We estimate the price effect of conditional transfers to mothers on intrahousehold allocations using data from a social program in Mexico, and show that price effects are large and statistically significant. The estimates suggest that household resources beyond those directly subject to conditionality have been reallocated favorably to children's human capital.