Econometrica Volume 89, Issue 3 (May 2021) is now online

Volume 89, Issue 3 (May 2021) has just been published. 

The full content of the journal is accessible at https://www.econometricsociety.org/publications/econometrica/browse

 
Articles

Frontmatter of Econometrica Vol. 89 Iss. 3

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General Equilibrium Oligopoly and Ownership Structure
José Azar, Xavier Vives

We develop a tractable general equilibrium framework in which firms are large and have market power with respect to both products and labor, and in which a firm's decisions are affected by its ownership structure. We characterize the Cournot–Walras equilibrium of an economy where each firm maximizes a share‐weighted average of shareholder utilities—rendering the equilibrium independent of price normalization. In a one‐sector economy, if returns to scale are non‐increasing, then an increase in “effective” market concentration (which accounts for common ownership) leads to declines in employment, real wages, and the labor share. Yet when there are multiple sectors, due to an intersectoral pecuniary externality, an increase in common ownership could stimulate the economy when the elasticity of labor supply is high relative to the elasticity of substitution in product markets. We characterize for which ownership structures the monopolistically competitive limit or an oligopolistic one is attained as the number of sectors in the economy increases. When firms have heterogeneous constant returns to scale technologies, we find that an increase in common ownership leads to markets that are more concentrated.
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A Comment on: “General Equilibrium Oligopoly and Ownership Structure” by José Azar and Xavier Vives
Jan Eeckhout
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A Comment on: “General Equilibrium Oligopoly and Ownership Structure” by José Azar and Xavier Vives
Thomas Philippon
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Reply to: Comments on “General Equilibrium Oligopoly and Ownership Structure”
José Azar, Xavier Vives
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Limit Points of Endogenous Misspecified Learning
Drew Fudenberg, Giacomo Lanzani, Philipp Strack

We study how an agent learns from endogenous data when their prior belief is misspecified. We show that only uniform Berk–Nash equilibria can be long‐run outcomes, and that all uniformly strict Berk–Nash equilibria have an arbitrarily high probability of being the long‐run outcome for some initial beliefs. When the agent believes the outcome distribution is exogenous, every uniformly strict Berk–Nash equilibrium has positive probability of being the long‐run outcome for any initial belief. We generalize these results to settings where the agent observes a signal before acting.
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Optimal Asset Management Contracts with Hidden Savings
Sebastian Di Tella, Yuliy Sannikov

We characterize optimal asset management contracts in a classic portfolio‐investment setting. When the agent has access to hidden savings, his incentives to misbehave depend on his precautionary saving motive. The contract dynamically distorts the agent's access to capital to manipulate his precautionary saving motive and reduce incentives for misbehavior. We provide a sufficient condition for the validity of the first‐order approach, which holds in the optimal contract: global incentive compatibility is ensured if the agent's precautionary saving motive weakens after bad outcomes. We extend our results to incorporate market risk, hidden investment, and renegotiation.
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Finite-Sample Optimal Estimation and Inference on Average Treatment Effects Under Unconfoundedness
Timothy B. Armstrong, Michal Kolesár

We consider estimation and inference on average treatment effects under unconfoundedness conditional on the realizations of the treatment variable and covariates. Given nonparametric smoothness and/or shape restrictions on the conditional mean of the outcome variable, we derive estimators and confidence intervals (CIs) that are optimal in finite samples when the regression errors are normal with known variance. In contrast to conventional CIs, our CIs use a larger critical value that explicitly takes into account the potential bias of the estimator. When the error distribution is unknown, feasible versions of our CIs are valid asymptotically, even when ‐inference is not possible due to lack of overlap, or low smoothness of the conditional mean. We also derive the minimum smoothness conditions on the conditional mean that are necessary for ‐inference. When the conditional mean is restricted to be Lipschitz with a large enough bound on the Lipschitz constant, the optimal estimator reduces to a matching estimator with the number of matches set to one. We illustrate our methods in an application to the National Supported Work Demonstration.
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Nash Equilibria on (Un)Stable Networks
Anton Badev

In response to a change, individuals may choose to follow the responses of their friends or, alternatively, to change their friends. To model these decisions, consider a game where players choose their behaviors and friendships. In equilibrium, players internalize the need for consensus in forming friendships and choose their optimal strategies on subsets of k players—a form of bounded rationality. The k‐player consensual dynamic delivers a probabilistic ranking of a game's equilibria, and via a varying k, facilitates estimation of such games.
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Viability and Arbitrage under Knightian Uncertainty
Matteo Burzoni, Frank Riedel, H. Mete Soner

We reconsider the microeconomic foundations of financial economics. Motivated by the importance of Knightian uncertainty in markets, we present a model that does not carry any probabilistic structure ex ante, yet is based on a common order. We derive the fundamental equivalence of economic viability of asset prices and absence of arbitrage. We also obtain a modified version of the fundamental theorem of asset pricing using the notion of sublinear pricing measures. Different versions of the efficient market hypothesis are related to the assumptions one is willing to impose on the common order.
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Aggregate Dynamics in Lumpy Economies
Isaac Baley, Andrés Blanco

How does an economy's capital respond to aggregate productivity shocks when firms make lumpy investments? We show that capital's transitional dynamics are structurally linked to two steady‐state moments: the dispersion of capital to productivity ratios—an indicator of capital misallocation—and the covariance of capital to productivity ratios with the time elapsed since their last adjustment—an indicator of asymmetric costs of upsizing and downsizing the capital stock. We compute these two sufficient statistics using data on the size and frequency of investment of Chilean plants. The empirical values indicate significant effects of aggregate productivity shocks and favor investment models with a strong downsizing rigidity and random opportunities for free adjustments.
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Screening in Vertical Oligopolies
Hector Chade, Jeroen Swinkels

A finite number of vertically differentiated firms simultaneously compete for and screen agents with private information about their payoffs. In equilibrium, higher firms serve higher types. Each firm distorts the allocation downward from the efficient level on types below a threshold, but upward above. While payoffs in this game are neither quasi‐concave nor continuous, if firms are sufficiently differentiated, then any strategy profile that satisfies a simple set of necessary conditions is a pure‐stategy equilibrium, and an equilibrium exists. A mixed‐strategy equilibrium exists even when firms are less differentiated. The welfare effects of private information are drastically different than under monopoly. The equilibrium approaches the competitive limit quickly as entry costs grow small. We solve the problem of a multi‐plant firm facing a type‐dependent outside option and use this to study the effect of mergers.
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Optimal Auction Design With Common Values: An Informationally Robust Approach
Benjamin Brooks, Songzi Du

A profit‐maximizing seller has a single unit of a good to sell. The bidders have a pure common value that is drawn from a distribution that is commonly known. The seller does not know the bidders' beliefs about the value and thinks that beliefs are designed adversarially by Nature to minimize profit. We construct a strong maxmin solution to this joint mechanism design and information design problem, consisting of a mechanism, an information structure, and an equilibrium, such that neither the seller nor Nature can move profit in their respective preferred directions, even if the deviator can select the new equilibrium. The mechanism and information structure solve a family of maxmin mechanism design and minmax information design problems, regardless of how an equilibrium is selected. The maxmin mechanism takes the form of a proportional auction: each bidder submits a one‐dimensional bid, the aggregate allocation and aggregate payment depend on the aggregate bid, and individual allocations and payments are proportional to bids. We report a number of additional properties of the maxmin mechanisms, including what happens as the number of bidders grows large and robustness with respect to the prior over the value.
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A Macroeconomic Model with Financially Constrained Producers and Intermediaries
Vadim Elenev, Tim Landvoigt, Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh

How much capital should financial intermediaries hold? We propose a general equilibrium model with a financial sector that makes risky long‐term loans to firms, funded by deposits from savers. Government guarantees create a role for bank capital regulation. The model captures the sharp and persistent drop in macro‐economic aggregates and credit provision as well as the sharp change in credit spreads observed during financial crises. Policies requiring intermediaries to hold more capital reduce financial fragility, reduce the size of the financial and non‐financial sectors, and lower intermediary profits. They redistribute wealth from savers to the owners of banks and non‐financial firms. Pre‐crisis capital requirements are close to optimal. Counter‐cyclical capital requirements increase welfare.
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Inference for Iterated GMM Under Misspecification
Bruce E. Hansen, Seojeong Lee

This paper develops inference methods for the iterated overidentified Generalized Method of Moments (GMM) estimator. We provide conditions for the existence of the iterated estimator and an asymptotic distribution theory, which allows for mild misspecification. Moment misspecification causes bias in conventional GMM variance estimators, which can lead to severely oversized hypothesis tests. We show how to consistently estimate the correct asymptotic variance matrix. Our simulation results show that our methods are properly sized under both correct specification and mild to moderate misspecification. We illustrate the method with an application to the model of Acemoglu, Johnson, Robinson, and Yared (2008).
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Salvaging Falsified Instrumental Variable Models
Matthew A. Masten, Alexandre Poirier

What should researchers do when their baseline model is falsified? We recommend reporting the set of parameters that are consistent with minimally nonfalsified models. We call this the falsification adaptive set (FAS). This set generalizes the standard baseline estimand to account for possible falsification. Importantly, it does not require the researcher to select or calibrate sensitivity parameters. In the classical linear IV model with multiple instruments, we show that the FAS has a simple closed‐form expression that only depends on a few 2SLS coefficients. We apply our results to an empirical study of roads and trade. We show how the FAS complements traditional overidentification tests by summarizing the variation in estimates obtained from alternative nonfalsified models.
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Asset Pricing with Endogenously Uninsurable Tail Risk
Hengjie Ai, Anmol Bhandari

This paper studies asset pricing and labor market dynamics when idiosyncratic risk to human capital is not fully insurable. Firms use long‐term contracts to provide insurance to workers, but neither side can fully commit; furthermore, owing to costly and unobservable retention effort, worker‐firm relationships have endogenous durations. Uninsured tail risk in labor earnings arises as a part of an optimal risk‐sharing scheme. In equilibrium, exposure to the tail risk generates higher aggregate risk premia and higher return volatility. Consistent with data, firm‐level labor share predicts both future returns and pass‐throughs of firm‐level shocks to labor compensation.
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Forthcoming Papers
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The Econometric Society 2020 Annual Report of the President
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Backmatter of Econometrica Vol. 89 Iss. 3
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Publication Date: 
Monday, May 3, 2021

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