Strategic Entry Deterrence and the Behavior of

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Submitted By kokoyam
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American Economic Journal: Microeconomics 3 (February 2011): 1–36 http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/mic.3.1.1

Strategic Entry Deterrence and the Behavior of Pharmaceutical Incumbents Prior to Patent Expiration†
By Glenn Ellison and Sara Fisher Ellison* This paper develops a new approach to testing for strategic entry deterrence and applies it to the behavior of pharmaceutical incumbents before patent expiration. It examines a cross section of markets, determining whether behavior is nonmonotonic in market size. Under some conditions, investment levels will be monotone in market size if firms do not invest to deter entry. Strategic investments to deter entry, however, may result in nonmonotonic investment because they are unnecessary in small markets, and impossible in large ones. Consistent with an entry-deterrence motivation is the finding that incumbents in medium-sized markets advertise less prior to patent expiration. (JEL D92, G31, L11, L21, L65)

T

he insight that firms may make “strategic investments” to alter future competitive conditions is one of the most fundamental ideas in industrial organization. Jean Tirole’s (1988) chapter reviewing arguments about how excess capacity, capital structure, advertising, contractual practices, learning-by-doing, and other actions can be used to deter entry is easily the longest in the text.1 Strategic investment models are difficult to test directly, however, and the vast majority of this literature is theoretical. In this paper, we propose a new empirical approach for examining strategic entry deterrence. Our applied focus is on the pharmaceutical industry. Using a panel of drugs that lost their US patent protection between 1986 and 1992, we explore how pharmaceutical incumbents have dealt with the threat of generic entry. We examine incumbents’ advertising, product proliferation, and pricing…...

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