SMU Department of Economics

Why firms prefer not to disclose product quality — and how regulators might respond

SMU, Santanu Roy, Economic Journal, price signaling, regulationRather than explicitly revealing information about the quality of their products and services, many firms prefer to signal quality through the prices they charge, typically working on the assumption that a high price indicates high quality. New research by Maarten Janssen and Santanu Roy provides a new explanation for why firms choose not to disclose quality directly – and explains how prices that are set to signal quality can distort actual buying decisions.

Their study has an important policy implication for regulators: there may be a case for imposing mandatory disclosure. Continue reading

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The Economist: Goldilocks nationalism

Economist, SMU, Economics, Klaus DesmetThe Economist’s “Free Exchange” column covered the research of SMU economist Klaus Desmet as part of a larger examination of the ideal size of nations from an economic perspective and within the context of Scotland’s recent vote on the question of independence.

The article, “Goldilocks nationalism,” published Sept. 27.
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The Atlantic: Can a Nation’s Soil Explain Its Economic Fortunes?

Omer Ozak, SMU, agriculture, soil, economicsJournalist Joe Pinsker with The Atlantic covered the research of SMU economist Ömer Özak about the association between cultures that value long-term payoffs and their ancient history of successful crop yields.

Pinsker’s story, “Can a Nation’s Soil Explain Its Economic Fortunes?” published Sept. 17. Continue reading

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Dallas Morning News: Study: Mild winter, wet spring to blame for Dallas County’s deadly West Nile outbreak

SMU West Nile Virus, FombyThe Dallas Morning News covered the research of SMU economist Thomas B. Fomby and SMU alumnus Robert W. Haley, who co-authored a new study on West Nile Virus.

Fomby and Haley, along with other researchers, analyzed a decade of data related to West Nile Virus and, in particular, the 2012 West Nile epidemic in Dallas County. The analysis allowed them to identify important precursors of West Nile Virus outbreaks that allow for early and effective intervention. Continue reading

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Mosquito indexing system identifies best time to act against potential West Nile Virus outbreaks

Mosquito biting 400x300Researchers who analyzed a decade of data related to West Nile Virus and, in particular, the 2012 West Nile epidemic in Dallas County, have identified important precursors of West Nile Virus outbreaks that allow for early and effective intervention.

The analysis found that the epidemics begin early, after unusually warm winters and are often in similar geographical locations. Continue reading

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Russia awards SMU’s Weber $3 million for research lab to study diversity, social interactions

Russian boys in snow 400x300
A $3 million grant to SMU economics professor Shlomo Weber will fund the establishment of a first-of-its-kind research laboratory to study diversity and social interactions.

The new center at Moscow’s New Economic School will focus on research into societal diversity, ranging from economic, historical and geographical to linguistic and ethnic. Researchers at the center will assess the impact of diversity on economic, political and social development, said Weber, a professor in the SMU Department of Economics. Continue reading

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SMU-North Texas Food Bank study will analyze causes of hunger in Dallas and rural North Texas

Economists at SMU will analyze the roles social networks and isolation play in fighting hunger in North Texas.

Recent studies have found that household economic resources are not the only factor contributing to food insecurity, according to Thomas B. Fomby, SMU professor of economics. Continue reading

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Despite belief WIC improves infant health, new study finds no positive or negative impact

Existing scientific literature suggests the U.S. government nutritional program known as WIC improves birth outcomes of children, but new SMU research is unable to find either a positive or negative impact on infant health.

WIC, which serves 53 percent of all U.S. infants, is for low-income pregnant women and their young children under five who are at or below 185 percent of the federal poverty level. Continue reading

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Imposing trade restrictions on parallel imports can motivate a firm to export, study finds

Imposing trade restrictions on parallel imports has the surprising effect of motivating a firm to export, according to a new study using game theory economic analysis, says co-author Santanu Roy, SMU. The study found that diverse parallel importing policies make it possible to analyze for the first time how competition between firms and allowing or banning parallel imports can influence competition. Continue reading

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