My 2010 Industrial Organization reading list

Industrial Organization I, Tyler Cowen (x2312, 4910), [email protected]


There will be weekly quizzes, a paper, and a final exam.



I. Firm behavior, antitrust, and vertical and horizontal control.

Einav, Lira and Levin, Jonathan, “Empirical Industrial Organization: A Progress report,” Journal of Economic Perspectives, (Spring 2010), 145-162.

Asker, John, “A Study of the Internal Organization of a Bidding Cartel,” American Economic Review, (June 2010), 724-762.

Bresnahan, Timothy F. “Competition and Collusion in the American Automobile Industry: the 1955 Price War,” Journal of Industrial Economics, 1987, 35(4), 457-82.

Bresnahan, Timothy and Reiss, Peter C. “Entry and Competition in Concentrated Markets,” Journal of Political Economy, (1991), 99(5), 977-1009.

Timothy Bresnahan, “Empirical Studies of Industries with Concentrated Power,” Handbook of Industrial Organization, vol.II.

Tirole, Jean. “Vertical Control.” In Theory of Industrial Organization, Chapter 4.

Klein, Benjamin and Leffler, Keith.  “The Role of Market Forces in Assuring Contractual Performance.”  Journal of Political Economy 89 (1981): 615-641.

Breit, William. “Resale Price Maintenance: What do Economists Know and When Did They Know It?” Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (1991).

McKenzie, Richard B. and Lee, Dwight, In Defense of Monopoly, chapter four, “Welfare-Enhancing Monopolies,” on reserve.   

Tirole, Jean.  “Information and Strategic Behavior: Reputation, Limit Pricing, and Predation.”  In Theory of Industrial Organization, Chapter 9, on reserve.

Sproul, Michael.  “Antitrust and Prices.”  Journal of Political Economy (August 1993): 741-754.

McCutcheon, Barbara.  “Do Meetings in Smoke-Filled Rooms Facilitate Collusion?”  Journal of Political Economy (April 1997): 336-350.

Hazlett, Thomas W. “Is Antitrust Anticompetitive?” Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, (Spring 1986).

Crandall, Robert and Whinston, Clifford, “Does Antitrust Improve Consumer Welfare?: Assessing the Evidence,”  Journal of Economic Perspectives (Fall 2003 ), 3-26, available at

 II. The Microeconomics of the Firm

Holmstrom, Bengt and Tirole, Jean.  “The Theory of the Firm,” in Handbook of Industrial Economics, vol.I.

Holmstrom, Bengt and Roberts, John.  “The Boundaries of the Firm Revisited.” Journal of Economic Perspectives 12, 4 (Fall 1998): 73-94.

Gibbons, Robert. “Incentives in Organizations.” Journal of Economic Perspectives (Fall 1998): 115-132.

Montgomery, Cynthia.  “Corporate Diversification,” Journal of Economic Perspectives (Summer 1994): 163-178.

Hansemann, Henry.  “The Role of Non-Profit Enterprise.” Yale Law Journal (1980): 835-901.

Lazear, Edward P. “Leadership: A Personnel Economics Approach,” NBER Working Paper 15918, 2010.

Oyer, Paul and Schaefer, Scott, “Personnel Economics: Hiring and Incentives,” NBER Working Paper 15977, 2010.

Van den Steen, Eric, “Interpersonal Authority in a Theory of the Firm,” American Economic Review, 2010, 100:1, 466-490.

Ben-David, Itzhak, and John R. Graham and Campbell R. Harvey, “Managerial Miscalibration,” NBER working paper 16215, July 2010.

AER Symposium, May 2010, starts with “Why do Firms in Developing Countries Have Low Productivity?,” runs pp.620-633.

Glenn Ellison, “Bounded rationality in Industrial Organization,”

Xavier Gabaix and David Laibson, “Shrouded Attributes, Consumer Myopia, and Information Suppression in Competitive Markets,”

Charness, Gary and Kuhn, Peter J. “Lab Labor: What Can Labor Economists Learn From the Lab?” NBER Working Paper, 15913, 2010.

Cowen, Tyler, Google lecture on prizes, on YouTube.

III. Capital structure and control

Miller, Merton, and commentators.  “The Modigliani-Miller Propositions After Thirty Years,” and comments, Journal of Economic Perspectives (Fall 1988): 99-158.

Myers, Stewart. “Capital Structure.” Journal of Economic Perspectives (Spring 2001): 81-102.

Hart, Oliver.  “Financial Contracting.”  Journal of Economic Literature (December 2001): 1079-1100.

Easterbrook, Frank H. “Two Agency-Cost Explanations of Dividends.”  American Economic Review (September 1984).

Baker, Malcolm and Wurgler, Jeffrey. “A Catering Theory of Dividends,” Journal of Finance (2004), available at

Baker, Malcolm and Ruback, Richard. “Behavioral Corporate Finance: A Survey,” found at

MacKinlay, A.C. (1997), “Event Studies in Economics and Finance”, Journal of

Economic Literature 35(1), 13-39.

Andrade, Gregor, et. al. “New Evidence and Perspective on Mergers.” Journal of Economic Perspectives (Spring 2001): 103-120.

Holmstrom, Bengt and Kaplan, Steven. “Corporate Governance and Merger Activity in the United States,” Journal of Economic Perspectives (Spring 2001): 121-149.

Gompers, Paul and Lerner, Josh.  “The Venture Capital Revolution.” Journal of Economic Perspectives (Spring 2001): 145-168.

Stein, Jeremy C. “Efficient Capital Markets, Inefficient Firms: A Model of Myopic Corporate Behavior.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 104 (November 1989): 655-670.

Stein, Jeremy C.  “Takeover Threats and Managerial Myopia.”  Journal of Political Economy (1988): 61-80.

Scharfstein, David S. and Stein, Jeremy C.  “Herd Behavior and Investment.”  American Economic Review 80 (June 1990): 465-479.

Hall, Brian and Murphy, Kevin J, “The Trouble with Stock Options,” Journal of Economic Perspectives, Summer 2003, also at

Murphy, Kevin J. and Zaboznik, Jan. “CEO Pay and Appointments,” American Economic Review, May 2004, also at

Jensen, Michael, Murphy, Kevin J., and Eric Wruck. “Remuneration: Where We've Been, How We Got to Here, What are the Problems, and How to Fix Them,” available at

Robert J. Gordon and Ian Dew-Becker, “Unresolved Issues in the Rise of American Inequality,”

McKay, Alisdair and Reis, Ricardo, “The Brevity and Violence of Contractions and Expansions,” NBER Working Paper, 12400, 2010.

Gorton, Gary B. Slapped in the Face by the Invisible Hand: Banking and the Panic of 2007,, published on-line in 2009.

IV. Theory and Regulation of Natural Monopolies

Sanford Berg and John Tschirhart, Natural Monopoly Regulation, Cambridge University Press.

pp. 21-275. 

Demsetz, Harold.  “Why Regulate Utilities?”  Journal of Law and Economics (April 1968): 347-359.

Williamson, Oliver.  “Franchise Bidding for Natural Monopolies – in General and with Respect to CATV.” Bell Journal of Economics (Spring 1976): 73-104.

Crandall, Robert W. “An End to Economic Regulation?” available at

Parente, Stephen L. and Prescott, Edward. “Monopoly Rights: A Barrier to Riches.”  American Economic Review 89, 5 (December 1999): 1216-1233.

Shleifer, Andrei. “State vs. Private Ownership.” Journal of Economic Perspectives (Fall 1998): 133-151.

Chang, Roberto, Constantino Hevia, and Norman Loayza, “Privatization and Nationalization Cycles,” NBER Working Paper 16126, June 2010.

Berg and Tschirhart, pp. 480-522.

Associated other topics in regulation, depending on your interests; reading suggestions will follow later in the semester.


Comments for this post are closed