NBER

Gastón Illanes

Department of Economics
Northwestern University
Kellogg Global Hub, Room 3421
2211 Campus Drive
Evanston, IL 60208
Tel: 847/491-8227

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NBER Program Affiliations: IO
NBER Affiliation: Faculty Research Fellow
Institutional Affiliation: Northwestern University

NBER Working Papers and Publications

April 2020Market Structure and Product Assortment: Evidence from a Natural Experiment in Liquor Licensure
with Sarah Moshary: w27016
We examine how market structure, measured as the number of firms, affects prices, quantities, product assortment, and consumer surplus. Our analysis exploits Washington’s deregulation of spirit sales, which generated exogenous variation in market structure across the state. Consistent with the uniform pricing literature, we find no effect of increased competition on prices. Rather, we document an expansion of product assortment, which in turn increases purchasing. Using a discrete-choice demand model, we estimate that wider assortments increase consumer surplus by $3.20/month when moving from monopoly to duopoly. However, the likelihood that a household engages in heavy drinking, as defined by the CDC, increases by 5.6 percentage points, raising concerns about social welfare.
September 2019Retirement Policy and Annuity Market Equilibria: Evidence from Chile
with Manisha Padi: w26285
Retirement policy has indirect effects on its beneficiaries, through the “crowd-out” or “crowd-in” of insurance markets. We study how retirement policy in Chile, which limits the drawdown of retirement assets but otherwise does not provide or require fixed income in retirement, results in more than 60% of eligible retirees purchasing private annuities at low prices. We estimate a demand model to show that replacing this voluntary policy with partial mandatory annuitization and removing limits on drawdowns causes the private annuity market to partially unravel. Under our model, this reform leads to a welfare increase equivalent to US$4,000 of additional pension savings on average, but welfare effects are heterogenous and many retirees would be harmed due to the higher prices of private annu...
May 2019Fiduciary Duty and the Market for Financial Advice
with Vivek Bhattacharya, Manisha Padi: w25861
Fiduciary duty aims to solve principal-agent problems, and the United States is in the middle of a protracted debate surrounding the merits of extending it to all financial advisers. Leveraging a transaction-level dataset of deferred annuities and state-level variation in common law fiduciary duty, we find that it raises risk-adjusted returns by 25 bp. Through the lens of a model of entry and advice provision, we argue that this effect can be due to both an increase in compliance costs (a fixed cost channel) and a direct constraint on low-quality advice (an advice channel), and we show how to disentangle these two effects. Model estimates indicate that the advice channel is the dominant force in explaining the observed results, and counterfactual simulations suggest that further increases ...

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