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Empirical Industrial Organization: A Progress Report

  • Liran Einav
  • Jonathan Levin

The field of industrial organization has made dramatic advances over the last few decades in developing empirical methods for analyzing imperfect competition and the organization of markets. These new methods have diffused widely: into merger reviews and antitrust litigation, regulatory decision making, price setting by retailers, the design of auctions and marketplaces, and into neighboring fields in economics, marketing, and engineering. Increasing access to firm-level data and in some cases the ability to cooperate with firms or governments in experimental research designs is offering new settings and opportunities to apply these ideas in empirical work. This essay begins with a sketch of how the field has evolved to its current state, in particular how the field's emphasis has shifted over time from attempts to relate aggregate measures across industries toward more focused studies of individual industries. The second and primary part of the essay describes several active areas of inquiry. We also discuss some of the impacts of this research and specify topics where research efforts have been more or less successful. The last section steps back to offer a broader perspective. We address some current debates about research emphasis in the field, and more broadly about empirical methods, and offer some thoughts on where future research might go.

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

Volume (Year): 24 (2010)
Issue (Month): 2 (Spring)
Pages: 145-62

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Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:24:y:2010:i:2:p:145-62
Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.24.2.145
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  19. Franklin M. Fisher, 1989. "Games Economists Play: A Noncooperative View," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 20(1), pages 113-124, Spring.
  20. Victor Aguirregabiria & Pedro Mira, 2004. "Sequential Estimation Of Dynamic Discrete Games," Working Papers wp2004_0413, CEMFI.
  21. Joshua Angrist & Jörn-Steffen Pischke, 2010. "The Credibility Revolution in Empirical Economics: How Better Research Design is Taking the Con out of Econometrics," NBER Working Papers 15794, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Emmanuel Guerre & Isabelle Perrigne & Quang Vuong, 2000. "Optimal Nonparametric Estimation of First-Price Auctions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(3), pages 525-574, May.
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  28. Ariel Pakes & Michael Ostrovsky & Steve Berry, 2004. "Simple Estimators for the Parameters of Discrete Dynamic Games (with Entry/Exit Samples)," NBER Working Papers 10506, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  29. Igal Hendel & Aviv Nevo, 2005. "Measuring the Implications of Sales and Consumer Inventory Behavior," NBER Working Papers 11307, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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