Apple’s jack and incumbent vertical market power

  Apple’s controversial decision to remove the universal 3.5mm audio jack from its just-released iPhone 7 has several economic dimensions. All of them are a consequence of Apple’s proprietary architecture (colloquially known as “Steve’s walled garden”) and the extent to which Apple is trying to/able to exercise incumbent vertical market power. How much market power … More Apple’s jack and incumbent vertical market power

Pharmaceuticals and multi-layered government-granted monopoly

Mylan’s price increase of the EpiPen in late August has caused consternation and a lot of debate about the reasons why Mylan has been able to increase the EpiPen price so dramatically above its production cost. Don’t forget that production cost includes the time and resources that comprise FDA compliance costs, even for generics like … More Pharmaceuticals and multi-layered government-granted monopoly

Elasticity of supply reduces hotel price spikes

Major sporting events can substantially boost demand for hotel rooms and, given the difficulty of building new hotels on short notice, lead to price hikes and consumer complaints about price gouging. As I wrote four years ago, “Super Bowls usually produce price gouging complaints,” but the complaints were especially high that year given the selection … More Elasticity of supply reduces hotel price spikes

The Economist on adverse selection and moral hazard

The Economist is running a series on classic articles that have transformed economics, starting with George Akerlof’s 1970 “Market for Lemons” paper. Akerlof catalyzed the field of information economics by pointing out possible consequences of asymmetric information in the case where one party to a transaction has more complete information about product quality than the … More The Economist on adverse selection and moral hazard

Pencil or peach, either way, a marvel of decentralized coordination

Many of you are probably already familiar with Leonard Read’s famous 1958 story I, Pencil. Told through the eyes of a pencil, it describes the process of producing a pencil and how many people are involved in doing so, but without ever having met or consciously, deliberately set out a plan under the control of … More Pencil or peach, either way, a marvel of decentralized coordination