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Levin, Jonathan D. (Jonathan David) 1972-

Works: 20 works in 29 publications in 1 language and 122 library holdings
Genres: Interviews 
Roles: Author, Thesis advisor
Publication Timeline
Publications about Jonathan D Levin
Publications by Jonathan D Levin
Most widely held works by Jonathan D Levin
Reinventing the way we do business by Edward E Whitacre( visu )
1 edition published in 2013 in English and held by 11 libraries worldwide
After a long and distinguished career leading what has been called by Fortune magazine "the most admired telecommunications company in America," Ed Whitacre was called out of retirement to save GM and the potentially millions of jobs dependent on its survival. In this session, Jon Levin, Stanford University Professor and Economics Department Chair, leads an insightful interview in which Ed Whitacre shares, vividly, leadership lessons learned and the core management principles that catapulted him to 17 years as chairman and CEO of AT&T and, temporarily lured out of retirement, as chairman and CEO of General Motors Co
The value of information in monotone decixion problems by Susan Athey( Book )
2 editions published between 1998 and 2000 in English and held by 4 libraries worldwide
Relational contracts, incentives and information by Jonathan D Levin( Archival Material )
2 editions published in 1999 in English and held by 3 libraries worldwide
The Economics of Internet Markets by Jonathan D Levin( Book )
7 editions published in 2011 in English and held by 2 libraries worldwide
The internet has facilitated the creation of new markets characterized by large scale, increased customization, rapid innovation and the collection and use of detailed consumer and market data. I describe these changes and some of the economic theory that has been useful for thinking about online advertising markets, retail and business-to-business e-commerce, internet job matching and financial exchanges, and other internet platforms. I also discuss the empirical evidence on competition and consumer behavior in internet markets and some directions for future research
Essays in applied microeconometrics by Dominic Coey( file )
1 edition published in 2013 in English and held by 2 libraries worldwide
This subject of this dissertation is applied microeconometrics. Chapter 1 estimates the effect of physician incentives on treatment choices in heart attack management. Our results suggest that if physicians received bundled payments instead of fee-for-service incentives, heart attack management would become considerably more conservative, and about 20 percent of patients would receive different treatments. Chapter 2 studies the effect of Medicaid on health expenditures. At age 19, some enrollees lose Medicaid eligibility. We find that this quasi-experimental loss of coverage causes substantial changes to the level and composition of health care use. Average health expenditure falls by around 60 percent. Chapter 3 compares set-asides and subsidies in government procurement auctions. Restricting entry appears to substantially reduces efficiency and revenue, although it increases participation of favored bidders
Auctions for complements and substitutes by Jonathan D Levin( Archival Material )
1 edition published in 1996 in English and held by 1 library worldwide
Managing energy demand with information and standards by Sébastien Houde( Computer File )
1 edition published in 2012 in English and held by 1 library worldwide
Energy efficiency, the notion that we can provide the same or comparable amount of energy services with less energy, is at the core of demand-side energy policies in the US, and elsewhere. The economics of energy efficiency policies is however controversial. While engineering calculations have repeatedly suggested that the full technical potential for energy efficiency is far to be realized, economists have pointed out that moving closer to the full potential is desirable to the extent that it delivers net benefits to society. The point of contention is that many practitioners and researchers believe that the observed investments in energy efficiency are systematically below their socially optimal levels, a phenomenon known as the energy efficiency gap, but it is still much debated how big is the gap, why it arises, and whether it commands policy interventions. The first goal of this dissertation is to propose a new conceptual framework to formalize the energy efficiency gap. Using the paradigm of transaction cost economics, I re-frame the concept of behavioral failure in a way consistent with standard welfare economics. In my framework, the fact that consumers may not account fully for energy costs (or may have biased perceptions) is rationalized by the existence of transaction costs to collect and process energy information. The second goal is to apply the framework to conduct a welfare analysis of one particular policy, the Energy Star certification program. The Energy Star certification is a voluntary labeling program managed by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that favors the adoption of energy efficient products. There are several rationales to focus on this program. First and foremost, Energy Star is one of the most important US policies aimed at improving energy efficiency, but rigorous evaluations of the program remain scant. Second, Energy Star is a policy that relies primarily on information and standards to influence consumers, which from a program evaluation standpoint, raises a number of methodological issues. The goal of my empirical application is thus to contribute to the policy debate, while proposing a novel methodology to analyze information-based policies. In Chapter 2, I use unique micro-data on the US refrigerator market to show that consumers respond to certification in different ways. Some consumers appear to rely heavily on Energy Star and pay little attention to electricity costs, others are the reverse, and still others appear to be insensitive to both electricity costs and Energy Star. I then develop a structural model of demand to conduct a welfare analysis of the program. The third goal is to investigate the role of firms' behaviors in determining the equilibrium outcomes of demand-side policies. The rationale here is that ignoring firms' responses may lead to grossly over or under-estimate the effects of policies aimed at consumers. In Chapter 3, I first shows that Energy Star influences firms decisions. Focusing on the refrigerator market, firms offer products that bunch exclusively at the minimum and Energy Star standards. I also find some evidence that consumers' valuation of the Energy Star certification is factored into pricing decisions. The second part of this chapter uses an oligopoly model estimated for the US refrigerator market to investigate firms' product lines and pricing decisions under various scenarios. I show that in a world without Energy Star firms might discriminate less in the energy efficiency dimension. This has important implications in determining the welfare effects of the program, and ultimately for the design of voluntary energy efficiency standards. In Chapter 4, I use the structural demand model and the oligopoly model to simulate the effects of the Energy Star program on the US refrigerator market. My results suggest that the program may lead to important energy savings, and improve social welfare. Moreover, Energy Star is particularly desirable in a world where there are different market failures interacting with one another. For instance, I find that the Energy Star certification may help firms to exercise market power, which, surprisingly, could benefit to consumers because the certification leads to a greater diversity of products in equilibrium. More generally, the welfare analysis yields a number of important insights on the interplay of demand-side policies and market structure
Essays in market design and behavioral economics by Edward Gilbert Augenblick( Computer File )
1 edition published in 2010 in English and held by 1 library worldwide
This dissertation is the combination of three distinct papers on Behavioral Economics and Market Design. In the first paper, I theoretically and empirically analyze consumer and producer behavior in a relatively new auction format, in which each bid costs a small amount and must be a small increment above the current high bid. I describe the set of equilibrium hazard functions over winning bids and identify a unique function with desirable conditions. Then, I examine bidder behavior using two datasets of 166,000 auctions and 13 million individual bids, captured with a real-time collection algorithm from a company called Swoopo. I find that players overbid significantly in aggregate, yielding average revenues of 150% of the good's value and generating profits of €18 million over four years. While the empirical hazard rate is close to the predicted hazard rate at the beginning of the auction, it deviates as the auction progresses, matching the predictions of my model when agents exhibit a sunk cost fallacy. I show that players' expected losses are mitigated by experience. Finally, I estimate both the current and optimal supply rules for Swoopo using high frequency data, demonstrating that the company achieves 98.6% of potential profit. The analysis suggests that over-supplying auctions in order to attract a larger userbase is costly in the short run, creating a large structural barrier to entrants. I support this conclusion using auction-level data from five competitors, which establishes that entrants collect relatively small or negative daily profits. The second paper (joint with Scott Nicholson) addresses the impact of making multiple previous choices on decision making, which we call "choice fatigue." We exploit a natural experiment in which different voters in San Diego County are presented with the same contest decision at different points on the ballot, providing variation in the number of previous decisions made by the voters. We find that increasing the position of a contest on the ballot increases the tendency to abstain and to rely on decision shortcuts, such as voting for the status-quo or the first candidate listed in a contest. Our estimates suggest that if an average contest was placed at the top of the ballot (when voters are "fresh"), abstentions would decrease by 10%, the percentage of "no" votes on propositions (a vote for the status-quo) would fall by 2.9 percentage points, and the percentage of votes for the first candidate would fall by .5 percentage points. Interestingly, if this occurred, our results suggests that 22 (6.25%) of the 352 propositions in our dataset would have passed rather than failed. Implications of the results range from the dissemination of information by firms and policy makers to the design of electoral institutions and the strategic use of ballot propositions. The third paper (joint with Jesse Cuhna) paper presents evidence from a field experiment on the impact of inter-group competition on intra-group contributions to a public good. We sent political solicitations to potential congressional campaign donors that contained either reference information about the past donations of those in the same party (cooperative treatment), those in the competing party (competition treatment), or no information (the control group). The donation rate in the competitive and cooperative treatment groups was 85% and 42% above that in the control, respectively. Both treatments contained a monetary reference point, which influenced the distribution of donations. While the cooperative treatment induced more contributions concentrated near the mentioned reference point, the competitive treatment induced more contributions at nearly twice the level of the given reference point, leading to a higher total contributed amount. This suggests that both cooperative and "pro-social" motives can drive higher contribution rates and total contributions, but the elicitation of competitive behavior can be more profitable in certain fundraising situations
Subsidies, infrastructure quality, and economic development by Shaun David McRae( file )
1 edition published in 2010 in English and held by 1 library worldwide
Electricity and water subsidies are an important form of social assistance in developing countries. However, households receive no direct benefit from such subsidies if they do not pay for their consumption of these services. Instead, the subsidies effectively become transfers from the government to the utility firms, creating an incentive for the firms to maximize the value of this subsidy payment. In Chapter 2 I provide evidence of such behavior by firms in a quantity-based electricity subsidy program for households in which consumption is unobserved. Using billing data and household characteristics, I show that unmetered households are billed for quantities that exceed any plausible estimate of their true, unobserved consumption. I estimate that this overbilling results in additional transfers from the government to the firm of nearly one sixth of total government expenditure on electricity subsidies. In Chapter 3 I develop an empirical framework to explain the persistence of unreliable infrastructure as the result of this targeted program of utility subsidies. I estimate a structural model of household demand for electricity, using customer billing data from Colombia matched to household characteristics and network outage data. I use this model to predict the change in consumption from upgrading households with low quality connections. Combining this with cost and regulatory data, I calculate the change in the utility firm's profits from the upgrade. I demonstrate that the existing program of targeted subsidies in Colombia deters investments to modernize infrastructure in areas with unreliable electricity supply. Households in these areas receive low quality service for which they do not pay, firms receive transfers from the government to tolerate areas with non-payment, and the government provides these transfers to prevent mass disconnections of non-payers. Based on the model estimates, I analyze less costly subsidy programs that provide stronger incentives for firms to upgrade neighborhoods with low-quality connections. In Chapter 4 I estimate a model of the household demand for electricity that includes both the short-run consumption decision, as in Chapter 3, and the long-run choice of the appliances that the household owns. I use a discrete factor approximation for the correlation between the unobserved components of the individual appliance choice and electricity consumption decisions. The reliability of electricity service enters demand directly through its effect on current-period consumption, and indirectly through its effect on the appliances owned by the household. I use the model to show that reliability improvements affect demand primarily through changes in the household's appliance portfolio
Essays in public finance and industrial organization by Neale Ashok Mahoney( Computer File )
1 edition published in 2011 in English and held by 1 library worldwide
This dissertation has four chapters. The first three chapters examine health insurance markets in the U.S., focusing in particular on contexts where there are important interactions between health insurance plans. The fourth chapter is on the U.S. budget, examining the implications of annual budget cycles on the quantity and quality of end-of-year spending. Chapter 1, entitled "Bankruptcy as Implicit Health Insurance" examines the interaction between health insurance and the implicit insurance that people have because they can file (or threaten to file) for bankruptcy. With a simple model that captures key institutional features, I demonstrate that the financial risk from medical shocks is capped by the assets that could be seized in bankruptcy. For households with modest seizable assets, this implicit "bankruptcy insurance" can crowd out conventional health insurance. I test these predictions using variation in the state laws that specify the type and level of assets that can be seized in bankruptcy. Because of the differing laws, people who have the same assets and receive the same medical care face different losses in bankruptcy. Exploiting the variation in seizable assets that is orthogonal to wealth and other household characteristics, I show that households with fewer seizable assets are more likely to be uninsured. This finding is consistent with another: uninsured households with fewer seizable assets end up making lower out-of-pocket medical payments. The estimates suggest that if the laws of the least debtor-friendly state of Delaware were applied nationally, 16.3 percent of the uninsured would buy health insurance. Achieving the same increase in coverage would require a premium subsidy of approximately 44.0 percent. To shed light on puzzles in the literature and examine policy counterfactuals, I calibrate a utility-based, micro-simulation model of insurance choice. Among other things, simulations show that "bankruptcy insurance" explains the low take-up of high-deductible health insurance. Chapter 2, entitled "Pricing and Welfare in Health Plan Choice", is coauthored with M. Kate Bundorf and Jonathan Levin. The starting point for the paper is the simple observation that when insurance premiums do not reflect individual differences in expected costs, consumers may choose plans inefficiently. We study this problem in health insurance markets, a setting in which prices often do not incorporate observable differences in expected costs. We develop a simple model and estimate it using data on small employers. In this setting, the welfare loss compared to the feasible risk-rated benchmark is around 2-11% of coverage costs. Three-quarters of this is due to restrictions on risk-rating employee contributions; the rest is due to inefficient contribution choices. Despite the inefficiency, the benefits from plan choice relative to each of the single-plan options are substantial. Chapter 3, entitled "The Private Coverage and Public Costs: Identifying the Effect of Private Supplemental Insurance on Medicare Spending, " is coauthored with Marika Cabral. While most elderly Americans have health insurance coverage through Medicare, traditional Medicare policies leave individuals exposed to significant financial risk. Private supplemental insurance to "fill the gaps" of Medicare, known as Medigap, is very popular. In this Chapter, we estimate the impact of this supplemental insurance on total medical spending using an instrumental variables strategy that leverages discontinuities in Medigap premiums at state boundaries. Our estimates suggest that Medigap increases medical spending by 57 percent--or about 40 percent more than previous estimates. Back-of-the-envelope calculations indicate that a 20 percent tax on premiums would generate combined revenue and savings of 6.2 percent of baseline costs; a Pigovian tax that fully accounts for the fiscal externality would yield savings of 18.1 percent. Chapter 4, entitled "Do Expiring Budgets Lead to Wasteful Year-End Spending? Evidence from Federal Procurement, " is coauthored with Jeffrey Liebman. Many organizations fund their spending out of a fixed budget that expires at year's end. Faced with uncertainty over future spending demands, these organizations have an incentive to build a buffer stock of funds over the front end of the budget cycle. When demand does not materialize, they then rush to spend these funds on lower quality projects at the end of the year. We test these predictions using data on procurement spending by the U.S. federal government. Using data on all federal contracts from 2004 through 2009, we document that spending spikes in all major federal agencies during the 52nd week of the year as the agencies rush to exhaust expiring budget authority. Spending in the last week of the year is 4.9 times higher than the rest-of-the-year weekly average. We examine the relative quality of year-end spending using a newly available dataset that tracks the quality of $130 billion in information technology (I.T.) projects made by federal agencies. Consistent with the model, average project quality falls at the end of the year. Quality scores in the last week of the year are 2.2 to 5.6 times more likely to be below the central value. To explore the impact of allowing agencies to roll unused spending over into subsequent fiscal years, we study the I.T. contracts of an agency with special authority to roll over unused funding. We show that there is only a small end-of-year I.T. spending spike in this agency and that the one major I.T. contract this agency issued in the 52nd week of the year has a quality rating that is well above average
Can health insurance competition work? : evidence from Medicare Advantage by Vilsa E Curto( Book )
2 editions published in 2014 in English and held by 1 library worldwide
We estimate the economic surplus created by Medicare Advantage under its reformed competitive bidding rules. We use data on the universe of Medicare beneficiaries, and develop a model of plan bidding that accounts for both market power and risk selection. We find that private plans have costs around 12% below fee-for-service costs, and generate around $50 dollars in surplus on average per enrollee-month, after accounting for the disutility due to enrollees having more limited choice of providers. Taxpayers provide a large additional subsidy, and insurers capture most of the private gains. We use the model to evaluate possible program changes
Essays on credit and labor markets by Ana Lourdes Gómez Lemmen Meyer( file )
1 edition published in 2014 in English and held by 1 library worldwide
This dissertation consists of three separate contributions about credit (Chapters 1 and 2) and labor (Chapter 3) markets. Chapter 1 is coauthored with Ian J. Wright and Enrique Seira. In this chapter, we establish four stylized facts about firm financing in private credit markets using a unique, comprehensive database of corporate loans in Mexico. We explain how specific policies may have led to the environment giving rise to these stylized facts, discuss the implications of our findings for models of relationship lending and firm banking, and present a simple model rationalizing our new result. In Chapter 2, I measure the effects of transitioning from an auction pricing mechanism to a posted-price pricing mechanism in a peer-to-peer online credit market. I focus primarily on lender returns. To quantify the effects, I compare the mean internal rates of return (IRR) before and after the pricing mechanism change. I find that for high-risk loans the IRR for lenders is 6.6 to 11.7 percent higher under the auction pricing mechanism, depending on the risk rating. The difference is not statistically significant for low-risk loans. The decrease in IRR in the posted-price period is also observed when controlling for observables. The results point to negative selection in the posted-price period. I discuss whether the price flexibility of auctions and the ability for lenders to use soft information in their bids might explain why auction rates of return on loans are higher than under the posted-price mechanism. Lastly, in Chapter 3, I study the consequences of the change in type of employer-sponsored pension plan from Defined Benefit (DB) to Defined Contribution (DC) pension plans on elderly men's labor force participation. Specifically, I look both at the cohort of men born between 1931 and 1941 and the cohort of men born between 1948 and 1953, and measure whether workers with only a DC pension plan are more likely to be working at age 65 or expect to be working past age 65 relative to individuals with only a DB pension plan. Previous studies have found a positive effect, however, potential endogeneity of the type of pension plan has been overlooked. In this chapter, I take into account this potential endogeneity and instrument for the type of pension plan with the projected proportion of firms with a DB or a DC pension plan in the workers' state of residence and the year at specific moments of the worker's career. I find that older workers with only a DC pension plan are 85% more likely to be working at age 65 and I find that younger workers, not yet retired, estimate a 20% higher probability to be working past age 65. This result is higher than the regular ordinary least squares (OLS) probability of 15% and 13%, respectively; however, the instrumental variables estimates are more noisy with a standard error of 25% and 19%, respectively. Nevertheless, these results provide evidence that the private pension plan switch has had a positive effect on men's elderly labor force participation, even when the potential endogeneity of type of pension plan is taken into account. Furthermore, the endogeneity points to a downwards bias of the OLS estimates
Deconstructing the Rosenfeld Curve structural determinants of energy consumption by Anant Sudarshan( Computer File )
1 edition published in 2011 in English and held by 1 library worldwide
California's energy efficiency policies and energy use patterns have attracted widespread national and international interest. Over the last three decades, the state has implemented a variety of regulatory and legislative measures aimed at reducing the demand for energy, through encouraging more efficient consumption. In a startling contrast to the nation as a whole, the state electricity consumption per capita has stayed relatively steady since 1970. A comparative graph of the state and national electricity intensities is called the Rosenfeld Curve, named after the influential former Commissioner of the California Energy Commission. This thesis examines the structural determinants of electricity consumption with a view to answering the question -- What fraction of the state-nation difference in electricity consumption intensity might reasonably be attributed to policy interventions? I begin with a simple decomposition analysis of the residential, industrial and commercial sectors, using empirical data from a variety of sources. I find that over two-thirds of the difference between state and national energy intensity may be attributed to structural factors that are independent of policy interventions, leaving a smaller, unexplained portion that could owe to program interventions (a share that has increased over time). I next consider the residential sector in detail, a topic that is the primary focus of my thesis. I describe residential consumption of electricity and secondary heating fuels, using a structural model of household energy demand estimated using micro-data from the period between 1993 and 2005. In doing so, I account for heterogeneity in household types in the population. After controlling for structural factors such as climate, I find evidence suggesting that policy may have been particularly effective in reducing the energy needed for heating and cooling end uses. I also find evidence of increasing policy effects over the ten years between 1995 and 2005. Additionally, the model suggests that incentive compatibility considerations may have resulted in inefficiently high energy consumption in rented dwellings. Overall, the econometric model indicates about 20 percent of the state nation difference in the residential sector may owe to program effects. These results are interesting as a retrospective look at the California experience, but more importantly as a benchmark of what might reasonably be expected from energy efficiency elsewhere in the world. They also underline the importance of using counterfactual policy evaluation techniques instead of comparisons of aggregate statistics in understanding policy impact
Trading mechanisms for financial exchanges by Patricia Macri-Lassus( Computer File )
1 edition published in 2010 in English and held by 1 library worldwide
The first part of this thesis discusses the structure of the US equities market and the regulatory challenges involved, with respect both to particular venues and order types, and to the market as a whole. This part addresses the role of public equities markets, their objectives, and the market-design concepts relevant to evaluating them, it describes the market structure before and after the significant regulatory reforms of 2005, goes on to detail some specific market-design challenges and current proposals from the SEC, and concludes with an analysis and evaluation of several trading mechanisms and three order types, from a mechanism-design perspective. The second part of the thesis presents a theoretical model of an exchange and analyzes optimal order submission in a one-shot game in which a buyer and seller, each of whom can have two (privately known) types, can trade up to two units of an asset through an order book, which is empty at the beginning of the game. In both a setting with private values and interdependent values, equilibria in four games are characterized: a basic game with limit and market orders, and games involving one of the three order types from the first part of the thesis- iceberg, discretionary, and volume orders. The effect of the introduction of the different order types is analyzed with respect to volume and transparency. Each setting also includes an analysis of the buyer-optimal mechanism and its relation to equilibria of the games involving orders
Essays on microeconomics by Daniel Knoepfle( file )
1 edition published in 2014 in English and held by 1 library worldwide
This dissertation collects several empirical studies of economic behavior; the first and second address consumer choice in an environment where sales tax differentials bring about differences in the total prices of similar goods sold in different locations, while the third addresses the identification of rules underlying behavior in strategic choice experiments
Essays on dynamic mechanism design by Anqi Li( Computer File )
1 edition published in 2012 in English and held by 1 library worldwide
This dissertation advocates dynamic mechanism design as a useful tool to tackle theoretical challenges in microeconomics and to solve real world institutional design problems. It is composed of two chapters. In the first chapter, I study durable goods sales with a dynamic population of buyers. My contribution is to devise a Multi-round Simultaneous Ascending Auction with Generalized Reserve Price (MSAAGR) to implement the efficient allocation, and to contrast MSAAGR with the standard uniform price auction to highlight the implication of population dynamics on the design of trading platforms. In the second chapter, I estalibsh the possibility of sustaining long-term cooperation in infinitely repeated private monitoring games with scarce signals. My contribution is to construct a novel Budget Mechanism with Cross-Checking (BMCC) which, by linking players' action choices over time, virtually implements the efficient outcome with a vanishing incentive cost as the horizon of the game grows and the players become increasingly patient
Essays on the determinants of student choices and educational outcomes by Justin A Wong( Computer File )
1 edition published in 2011 in English and held by 1 library worldwide
This dissertation is composed of three essays. Essay 1, "Does School Start Too Early For Student Learning?", considers the connection between school start time and student performance. Biological evidence indicates that adolescents' internal clocks are designed to make them fall asleep and wake up at later times than adults. This science has prompted widespread debate about delaying school start times in the U.S., a country which has some of the earliest start times worldwide. The debate suffers, however, from a glaring absence of evidence: the small number of prior studies has been too low powered statistically to test whether later start times improve achievement. I fill the gap by studying achievement across a large, nationally representative set of high schools that have varying start times. I identify the positive effect of later clock start times, as well as the independent effect of greater daylight at school start time. My primary empirical method is cross-sectional regression with rich controls for potentially confounding variables. The findings are confirmed by regression discontinuity analysis focused on schools close to time zone boundaries. I quantify the net gain in welfare from having an additional hour of sunlight before school starts by comparing the substantial lifetime earnings benefits for students against the likely the societal costs. Essay 2, "Student Success and Teaching Assistant Effectiveness In Large Classes", considers the impact teaching assistants (TAs) have on student performance. In universities, TAs play a crucial role by providing small group instruction in lecture courses with large enrollment. The multiplicity of TAs creates both positive opportunities and negative incentives. On the one hand, some TAs may excel at tasks--such as helping struggling students--at which other TAs fail. If so, all students may be able to learn better if they can match themselves to the TA that best suits their needs. On the other hand, the multiplicity of TAs means that students in the same class often receive instruction that varies in quality even though they are ultimately graded on the same standard. In this paper, we use data from a large lecture course in which students are conditionally randomly assigned to TAs. In addition to administrative data on scores and grades, we use survey data (which we generated) on students' initial preparation, their study habits, and their interactions with TAs. We identify the existence of variation among TAs in teaching effectiveness. We also identify how TAs vary in their effectiveness with certain subpopulations of students: the least and best prepared, students with different backgrounds, and so on. Using our parameter estimates, we simulate student achievement under scenarios such as random assignment to TAs, elimination/retraining of the least effective TAs, and matching of TAs to students based on initial information to show the potential gains in student welfare from more efficient matching. Essay 3, "A Study of Student Majors: A Historical Perspective", considers whether differing financial returns across degrees are a significant factor in a student's choice of a major. During the late 1990s, the U.S. experienced a technology boom that significantly increased the initial salary offers to engineering students, and computer science students in particular. These dramatic increases in returns provide an excellent opportunity to examine not only how students respond to salary levels, but also to salary trends. The existing literature has focused on the extent to which differing financial returns can affect a student's choice of undergraduate major. This paper extends the analysis to test if trends in salary levels also affect the share of students selecting into various majors using a comprehensive dataset of all post-secondary institutions. I find that students select into majors that offer higher salaries and have greater wage growth. Using a flexible empirical model that allows students to respond to both changes in salary levels and growth, I find that the results hold across majors and within engineering disciplines. These results help to explain why, for instance, the percentage of students choosing to major in computer science grew more rapidly than could be explained by salary level alone
Essay in empirical industrial organization and public finance by Daniel Grodzicki( file )
1 edition published in 2014 in English and held by 1 library worldwide
This dissertation comprises three chapters. The first two chapters investigate competition in the U.S. credit card market. The first looks at broad changes in the market's competitive environment over the past two decades. More specifically, it establishes how the classical facts characterizing a failure of competition in credit card lending during the 1980s are largely reversed in the decades following. Extending previous theories of limited competition in credit card lending, it illustrates how many of these changes can be explained by considering the role of costly screening in mitigating adverse selection. The second chapter studies more directly how issuers compete in today's market. To this end, it presents an equilibrium model of credit card issuers' mail out decisions and estimates it using data on direct mail credit card offers. In contrast to previous work, the model accounts for the complexity of card products, for heterogeneity in individuals' tastes for cards, and for differences in how profitable consumers are to issuers. It then explores the equilibrium supply effects of changes in the market environment. Specifically, it shows that an increase in the cost of funds (Treasury rate) unambiguously reduces consumers' propensity to receive offers and the range of rates on offers received. Conversely, reducing sending costs unambiguously increases the number and variety of offers. It also leads to an increase in the average rate on offered products. Adding a competitor on net increases the propensity to receive credit. However, it also deters existing competitors from making offers to some individuals whom they might have otherwise found profitable. The third chapter looks at the potential effects of differing methods for taxing inter-generational wealth transfers. Using wealth data on U.S. households, it forecasts changes in household wealth in the coming decade and calculates the importance of untaxed wealth in bequeathed estates. It then compares the aggregate and distributional effects of the current estate tax to those in which only the unrealized capital gains are subject to tax. It estimates that, in the coming decade, policies taxing capital gains can potentially raise more revenue than the current estate tax, but not without a substantial increase in the fraction of households facing a tax. Moreover, modest increases in capital gains allowance is likely to both sharply reduce total revenue and focus the burden of the tax on high wealth households
Are dynamic Vickrey auctions practical? : Properties of the combinatorial clock auction by Jonathan D Levin( file )
1 edition published in 2014 in English and held by 0 libraries worldwide
The combinatorial clock auction is becoming increasingly popular for large-scale spectrum awards and other uses, replacing more traditional ascending or clock auctions. We describe some surprising properties of the auction, including a wide range of ex post equilibria with demand expansion, demand reduction and predation. These outcomes arise because of the way the auction separates allocation and pricing, so that bidders are asked to make decisions that cannot possibly affect their own auction outcome. Our results obtain in a standard homogenous good setting where bidders have well-behaved linear demand curves, and suggest some practical difficulties with dynamic implementations of the Vickrey auction
Consumer price search and platform design in internet commerce by Michael Dinerstein( file )
1 edition published in 2014 in English and held by 0 libraries worldwide
Search frictions can explain why the "law of one price" fails in retail markets and why even firms selling commodity products have pricing power. In online commerce, physical search costs are low, yet price dispersion is common. We use browsing data from eBay to estimate a model of consumer search and price competition when retailers offer homogeneous goods. We find that retail margins are on the order of 10%, and use the model to analyze the design of search rankings. Our model explains most of the effects of a major re-design of eBay's product search, and allows us to identify conditions where narrowing consumer choice sets can be pro-competitive. Finally, we examine a subsequent A/B experiment run by eBay that illustrates the greater difficulties in designing search algorithms for differentiated products, where price is only one of the relevant product attributes
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Levin, Jonathan David 1972-
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