Date of Award

8-2013

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Economics

Major Professor

Christian Vossler

Committee Members

William Neilson, Andy Puckett, Michael K. Price

Abstract

This dissertation consists of three essays that study (i) collusion in forward markets, (ii) investor behavior in response to ecological disasters, and (iii) the willingness to accept - willingness to pay disparity in the presence of uncertainty.

Chapter 1 reports the results of a laboratory experiment that examines the strategic effect of forward contracts on market power in infinitely repeated duopolies. Two competing effects motivate the experimental design. Allaz and Vila (1993) argue that forward markets act like additional competitors in that they increase quantity competition among firms. Conversely, Liski and Montero (2006) argue that forward contracting can facilitate collusive outcomes by enabling firms to soften competition. The experiment provides a first simultaneous test of these rival effects. Contrary to previous experimental studies, the results do not support the quantity-competition effect. Further, the findings provide evidence in support of the collusive hypothesis.

Chapter 2 analyzes investor behavior in response to ecological disasters. Specifically, I test for the presence of “green” preferences in stock markets using variation in abnormal returns of publicly traded companies that differ in their environmental footprint. I employ Newsweek's detailed green rankings of the 500 largest U.S. firms as an identification strategy and I find that cumulative abnormal returns following an ecological disaster significantly differ based on companies' environmental performance scores.

Chapter 3 reports the results of a laboratory experiment that tests the robustness of the willingness to accept - willingness to pay disparity for private good and public good lotteries in the presence of uncertainty. Using an incentive compatible elicitation mechanism, the experiment explores the existence of the disparity and its interdependence with uncertainty and the income effect. The findings suggest that the disparity persists for both private and public goods for monetary lotteries. While there is significant evidence for social preferences in the public good setting, the disparity is even stronger than in the private good setting.

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