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Anger and Regulation

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  • Rafael Di Tella
  • Juan Dubra

Abstract

We propose a model where voters experience an emotional cost when they observe a firm that has displayed insufficient concern for other people's welfare (altruism) in the process of making high profits. Even with few truly altruistic firms, an equilibrium may emerge where all firms pretend to be kind and refrain from charging "abusive" prices to their customers. Our main result is that, as competition decreases, the set of parameters for which such pooling equilibria exist beomes smaller and firms are more likely to anger consumers. Regulation can increase welfare, for example, through fines (even if there are no changes in prices). We illustrate these gains in a monopoly setting, where regulation affects welfare through 3 channels (i) a reduction in monopoly price leads to the production of units that cost less than their value to consumers (standard channel); (ii) regulation calms down existing consumers because a reduction in the profits of an "unkind" firm increases total welfare by reducing consumer anger (anger channel); and (iii) individuals who were out of the market when they were excessively angry in the unregulated market, decide to purchase once the firm is regulated, reducing the standard distortions described in the first channel (mixed channel).

Suggested Citation

  • Rafael Di Tella & Juan Dubra, 2009. "Anger and Regulation," NBER Working Papers 15201, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15201
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Rafael Tella & Juan Dubra, 2018. "Some elements of Peronist beliefs and tastes," Latin American Economic Review, Springer;Centro de Investigaciòn y Docencia Económica (CIDE), vol. 27(1), pages 1-34, December.
    2. Tobias Gesche, 2022. "Reference‐price shifts and customer antagonism: Evidence from reviews for online auctions," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 31(3), pages 558-578, August.
    3. Bonev, Petyo & Glachant, Matthieu & Söderberg, Magnus, 2022. "Implicit yardstick competition between heating monopolies in urban areas: Theory and evidence from Sweden," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 109(C).
    4. Rafael Di Tella & Juan Dubra, 2010. "Peronist Beliefs and Interventionist Policies," NBER Working Papers 16621, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Gesche, Tobias, 2018. "Reference Price Shifts and Customer Antagonism: Evidence from Reviews for Online Auctions," VfS Annual Conference 2018 (Freiburg, Breisgau): Digital Economy 181650, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    6. Bonev, Petyo & Glachant, Matthieu & Söderberg, Magnus, 2018. "A Mechanism for Institutionalised Threat of Regulation: Evidence from the Swedish District Heating Market," Economics Working Paper Series 1805, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.
    7. Magnus Söderberg & Makoto Tanaka, 2012. "Spatial price homogeneity as a mechanism to reduce the threat of regulatory intervention in locally monopolistic sectors," Working Papers hal-00659458, HAL.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • L4 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies

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