Helena Perrone

I am an assistant professor at the Department of Economics at the University of Mannheim and CEPR Research Affiliate.

Research Interests

Universität Mannheim, L 7, 3–5 – Raum 3.13, 68161 Mannheim, +49 621 181-1838, helena.perrone@uni-mannheim.de

Published  Papers

Consumers' Costly Responses to Product-Harm Crises (joint with Rosa Ferrer),  Management Science, 2022, 69(5):2639-2671. 

Demand for nondurable goods: a shortcut to long-run demand elasticities, Rand Journal of Economics, 2017, 48: 856-873.

Consumers' quality choice during demand peaks, International Journal of Industrial Organization, 2016, 44: 154-162.

Gender Bias in Intrahousehold Allocation: Evidence from an Unintentional Experiment, joint with Luis B. Braido and Pedro Olinto,  Review of Economics and Statistics 2012, 94: 552-565

Working Papers

Demand steering through the smokescreen of stockouts: evidence from cigarette vending machines (with Pablo Casas  and Asis Martinez-Jerez)

 We show evidence of retailers using stockouts to steer demand towards products with higher retailer margins. We consider a unique setting where regulation limits the use of vertical agreements that could weaken steering incentives, prices are set by manufacturers,  and product assortment is fixed in the short run. Using data on cigarette vending machines, we find empirical evidence consistent with retailers making strategic product re-stocking decisions. They exert less re-stocking effort for low-margin products, prompting consumers to shift purchases toward high-margin products. In a setting where prices vary infrequently, we exploit variation in product availability as a source of identification to recover preference parameters. Estimated diversion ratios are high across products within the same vending machine and low towards outside retailers. We also recover manufacturers' marginal costs. Counterfactual exercises based on our model parameter estimates measure the welfare effects of demand steering for consumers and manufacturers. On average, welfare losses are economically relevant; however, some manufacturers are better off under strategic stockouts.

Quality upgrade and the diffusion of innovation: Effects on Mobile Internet Usage (with Mattia Colombo and Eleftheria Triviza)

This paper examines the impact of a quality upgrade on the adoption rate of new technologies, exploiting the staggered transition from 3G to 4G in mobile internet usage in Greece. We use individual monthly mobile consumption data from a major Greek Internet Service Provider (ISP) spanning from 2011 to 2013.  Our results show that introducing 4G leads to a significant increase in mobile internet consumption, both among existing users and in attracting new users. This innovation accelerates the diffusion of mobile internet usage, particularly in areas with more technologically savvy consumers. Consumers start responding to the quality shock with a few months delay, and mobile internet usage increases gradually, suggesting a learning process. Furthermore, adoption rates are heterogeneous across the population and are driven by young men, who increase their use more than women and consumers aged over 40.

The value of platforms: Evidence from the American Airlines vs Expedia conflict (with Raquel Sampaio and Miguel Urdanoz)

This paper explores the welfare impact of intermediaries in the air ticket market, focusing on a 2010 conflict between airlines and online platforms. Using a difference-in-difference approach and transaction-level data, we find that the temporary withdrawal of American Airlines and Delta products led to the near elimination of high-search-cost interline products. This underscores the significant role intermediaries play in enhancing consumer welfare by reducing search costs.

Chips in on a merger:  the Arm-Nvidia case

This paper analyzes the Nvidia-Arm vertical merger through the lens of the recent literature in Industrial Organization. It explores potential competitive concerns surrounding market foreclosure, technological access, and exclusionary behavior, considering the dynamic semiconductor industry's intricacies. Although limited public information is available due to the case not advancing to phase two, I propose four theories of competitive effects addressing issues such as vertical foreclosure in dynamic markets, softening of competition in downstream markets, the Edgeworth-Salinger effect, and the ecosystem effects of the merger. This discussion sheds light on the potential impact of this merger in the semiconductor industry on competition in innovative high tech markets such as CPUs, datacenters, gaming consoles, and assisted driving.

Price dispersion and informational frictions: evidence from supermarket purchases (with Pierre Dubois

New draft coming soon!

Traditional demand models assume that consumers are perfectly informed about product characteristics, including price. However, this assumption may be too strong. Unannounced sales are a common supermarket practice. As we show, retailers frequently change position in the price rankings, thus making it unlikely that consumers are aware of all deals offered in each period. Further empirical evidence on consumer behavior is also consistent with a model with price information frictions. We develop such a model for horizontally differentiated products and structurally estimate the search cost distribution. The results show that in equilibrium, consumers observe a limited number of prices before making a purchase decision, which implies that imperfect information is indeed important and that local market power is potentially high. We also show that a full information demand model yields severely biased price elasticities.

Gender Differences in Academic Performance: The Role of Negative Marking in Multiple-Choice Exams (joint with Patricia Funk

We investigate whether penalizing wrong answers on multiple-choice tests (``negative marking'') makes females relatively worse off compared to males (the comparison being no penalties for wrong answers). With a cohort of more than 500 undergraduate students at a major Spanish university, we conducted a field experiment in the Microeconomics course. We created a final exam, which was composed of two parts: one with penalties for wrong answers and one without. Students were randomly allocated to different exam permutations, which differed in the questions that carried penalties for wrong answers. We find that the penalties did not harm female students. Females performed better than males on both parts of the exam and did so to a greater extent on the part with penalties. Whereas risk aversion did not affect overall scores (despite affecting answering behavior), ability did. High-ability students performed relatively better with negative marking, and these were more likely to be women.


Work in progress

The Competitive Effects of Subprime Credit for Consumption

Using data from Brazil, I study the effect of entry of large subprime lenders in markets where the population was previously credit constrained on: (i) consumers’ purchase patterns; (ii)  consumers’ welfare measures; and (iii) the local competitive environment.