Essays in Industrial Organization and Political Economy

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Virginia Tech

This dissertation comprises of three problems in the area of Political Economy and Industrial Organization. The first chapter concerns how ideologically-opposite media firms report a particular event to maximize their payoffs from advocating their ideology and strengthen reader trust which increases if the report is proximate to their beliefs. I use these facts to develop a Hotelling's linear city model of competition where the two media firms choose their respective locations which signify the impression they want to impart to its readers. I find partisan media provides accurate information while covering topics favorable to its ideology. However, for unfavourable topics, the media never provides an indifferent report, but either defends its own ideology or delivers a partially accurate report. For unfavourable issues, imparting an indifferent impression rewards a media with lowest equilibrium payoffs. I identify sufficiency conditions where readers give better assessment to news of a media located farther away from their ideology than one which is nearer. Increasing competition by the entry of a third firm does not necessarily alleviate the level of bias in the news economy. The second paper studies the pricing schedule of a monopolist while it sells a non-durable product over two time periods. The consumer's experience with the product is correlated with two possible states — good (bad) experience is more probable under a high (low) state. Given this, I study the monopolist's pricing scheme in the two periods when consumers are wishful — overly optimistic about the high state even after a bad experience. I provide a comparative study of prices in each periods when the monopolist announces prices with and without commitment when consumers are either naive or sophisticated. The final chapter provides an understanding of the efficacy of two types of trade sanctions (import and export) using a directed network model. Sanctions are common punitive measures taken by a sender player to discipline a target player. Empirical evidences in the realm of international trade show differences in the effectiveness between import and export sanctions. This paper shows that such differences can be explained by one specific centrality feature of the underlying trading network — betweenness-centrality. This measure lends insights to the trade spill-overs following sanctions underscoring why sanctions are ineffective. I highlight when a higher value of this centrality acts as a sufficient condition towards effective sanction. Based on this analysis, one can conclude whether import or export sanction will be more effective for a given trade network.

media bias, partisan media, Hotelling's model, wishful thinking, sanctions, betweenness centrality