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Essays in industrial organization : exclusionary contracts and advertising choice Ucar, Sebnem


This dissertation addresses some interesting questions related to exclusionary contracts and advertising choice. The first paper develops a model of long-term contracts as barriers to entry with differentiated products. It shows that if an incumbent firm can hold the consumer surplus in the pre-entry period hostage, he can sign the buyer up for a long-term exclusive contract regardless of the degree of product differentiation. Even though entry by an equally efficient firm is blocked, the contract still increases welfare if the incumbent's and the entrant's products are close substitutes. The model is further extended to include more periods, uncertainty, discounting, and no commitment power. When the incumbent is not able to credibly commit to refuse supply, entry may nevertheless still be blocked by the long-term contract. The objective of the second paper is to examine a monopoly firm's decision on price and advertising in a market where exclusivity matters. Two types of advertising are analyzed: (a) informative advertising, by which the firm provides information about the product's existence, features and quality, and (b) image advertising, by which the firm communicates an appealing image for the product with which buyers can associate themselves through their consumption of the good. In equilibrium only a fraction of consumers buy the image good. The effects of income dispersion, product nature, and existence of a strategic competitor on the equilibrium outcome and welfare are analyzed. It is found that monopoly advertises and serves more consumers than duopoly, generating higher total surplus. The third paper, which is joint with Tirtha Dhar, investigates the key macroeconomic drivers of deceptive advertising. We use a unique data set on advertising complaints in the United States, and combine it with macroeconomic indicators to show that deceptive advertising is counter-cyclical. When we analyze the data taking into account product durability, we find that this relationship is significant only in the case of nondurable goods. More importantly, deceptive advertising is pro-cyclical in the case of nondurable search goods, and counter-cyclical in the case of nondurable experience goods. These findings suggest policy recommendations related to the type of industry and prevailing economic conditions.

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