Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2017

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



This dissertation studies three different topics related to the economic science. In the first chapter, it is shown that collaborations between firms can have more harmful consequences on prices than a consolidation between them. We analyze a symmetric joint venture in which firms facing external competition collaborate in input production. Under standard regularity conditions, the collaboration leads to higher profits than a horizontal merger, whereas the effect on prices and quantities depends on the form of downstream competition. When firms compete in prices, downstream prices for all firms are higher following a symmetric joint venture than following a merger. The reverse result may obtain under quantity competition. In light of our results regarding profits, we provide reasons why firms might still wish to merge: imperfect information, cost synergies, and organizational asymmetries.On the second chapter, it is measured the impact on retail prices for a gas station if a big-box store starts selling gasoline to consumers. To the concern of their smaller competitors Wal-Mart, big-box stores, and other high-volume, low-price retailers have entered many retail industries globally in recent decades. In particular, big-box stores have increased in presence and market share in the U.S. retail gasoline industry. We examine the price impact of these "hypermarts" on traditional gasoline retailers and find it to be economically large. The presence of a hypermart reduces a mean retailer's profit by over one-half. This impact is considerably larger than that induced by the presence of a typical retailer. We employ a unique data set covering a medium-sized metropolitan areas: Tucson, AZ.The third chapter investigates the effects of norms and peer pressure on the evolution of an epidemics, and the policies that could minimize its extent. Individuals make binary decisions regarding the level of protection from contagion and the payoffs from those decisions would depend on the popularity of their choices. Social norms can influence the decision both by lowering the payoffs from playing outside the norm or by lowering the probability of interaction. I've found that the stronger the norms are, the higher the incidence of the disease needed for agents to start protecting, but also, the eradication is easier to occur. I extend the analysis to the asymptomatic latency case and I extend the model to include different variations affecting the agents' decisions. Finally, I analyze different types of government interventions to eradicate the disease.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Brian W. Rogers

Committee Members

Joseph Cullen, John Nachbar, Paulo Natenzon, Bruce Petersen,


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Included in

Economics Commons