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Author:Borzekowski, Ron 

Working Paper
Limited network connections and the distribution of wages
It is well-known that 50% or more of all jobs are obtained through informal channels i.e. connections to family or friends. As well, statistical studies show that observable individual factors account for only about 50% of the very wide variation in earnings. We seek to explain these two facts by assuming that the linking of workers and firms is mediated by limited network connections. The model implies that essentially similar workers can have markedly different wages and further that the inequality of wages is partly explained by variations in the sizes of workers' networks. Our results indicate that differences in the number of ties can induce substantial inequality and can explain roughly 15% of the unexplained variation in wages. We also show that reasonable differences in the average number of links between blacks and whites can explain the disparity in black and white income distributions.
AUTHORS: Borzekowski, Ron; Arrow, Kenneth J.
DATE: 2004

Working Paper
Health care finance and the early adoption of hospital information systems
This study examines the adoption of hospital information systems (HIS), specifically focusing on the connection between the financing of health care and the adoption of these new technologies. Using a recently uncovered dataset detailing the systems installed at over 2300 hospitals, the results indicate that state price regulations slowed the adoption of these systems during the 1970's. In contrast, hospitals increased their adoption of HIS in response to the implementation of Medicare's prospective payment system. The evidence suggests that in the early years, these systems did not have the ability to save sufficient funds to justify their expense and adopters, in particular not-for-profit hospitals, were motivated by factors other than cost. By the early 1980's, this had changed: hospitals with the greatest incentives to lower costs were now more likely to adopt these technologies.
AUTHORS: Borzekowski, Ron
DATE: 2002

Working Paper
Measuring the cost impact of hospital information systems: 1987-1994
This study measures the impact of information technology (IT) use on hospital operating costs during the late 1980's and early 1990's. Using a proprietary eight-year panel dataset (1987-1994) that catalogues application-level automation for the complete census of the 3,000 U.S. hospitals with more than 100 beds, this study finds that both financial/administrative and clinical IT systems at the most thoroughly automated hospitals are associated with declining costs three and five years after adoption. At the application level, declining costs are associated with the adoption of some of the newest technologies, including systems designed for cost management, the administration of managed care contracts, and for both financial and clinical decision support. The association of cost declines with lagged IT as well as the cost patterns at the less automated hospitals both provide evidence of learning effects.
AUTHORS: Borzekowski, Ron
DATE: 2002

Working Paper
Incompatibility and investment in ATM networks
The literature on network industries and network effects notes that incompatibility across rival systems can influence firms' incentives to invest in product changes that are beneficial to the consumer. We investigate this phenomenon in the case of bank ATM networks, where the number of ATM locations serves as the measure of product quality and surcharge fees serve as an index of incompatibility. Using as a natural experiment the lifting of a surcharge ban in Iowa (and not in neighboring states), we find that the associated increase in incompatibility for Iowa banks caused a substantial increase in the number of ATM locations offered to customers. This effect is found to be larger (in percentage terms) for larger banks than for smaller ones.
AUTHORS: Hannan, Timothy H.; Borzekowski, Ron
DATE: 2006

Working Paper
Interchange fees and payment card networks: economics, industry developments, and policy issues
In many countries around the world, electronic card-based payments have been replacing older types of payments at a rapid rate. In the United States, use of both debit cards and credit cards has been rising rapidly, while check volumes have been declining. The increased use of electronic payment methods has generated a number of public policy debates. One prominent debate concerns interchange fees. This paper is intended to provide background for understanding the interchange fee debate. The paper describes the operation of a typical payment card system, presents a summary of the economic theory underlying interchange fees, and discusses various developments in the U.S. payment cards industry, as well as legal and regulatory developments abroad. The paper concludes with a discussion and critical evaluation of a number of potential policy interventions.
AUTHORS: Prager, Robin A.; Manuszak, Mark D.; Kiser, Elizabeth K.; Borzekowski, Ron
DATE: 2009

Working Paper
The choice at the checkout: quantifying demand across payment instruments
Dramatic changes have occurred in the U.S. payment system over the past two decades, most notably an explosion in electronic card-based payments. Not surprisingly, this shift has been accompanied by a series of policy debates, all of which hinge critically on understanding consumer behavior at the point of sale. Using a new nationally representative survey, we transform consumers' responses to open-ended questions on reasons for using debit cards to estimate a characteristics-based discrete-choice demand model that includes debit cards, cash, checks, and credit cards. Market shares computed using this model line up well with aggregate shares from other sources. The estimates are used to conduct several counterfactual experiments that predict consumer responses to alternative payment choices. We find that consumers respond strongly to elapsed time at the checkout counter and to whether the payment instrument draws from debt or liquidity. In addition, substitution patterns vary substantially with demographics. New "contactless" payment methods designed to replace debit cards are predicted to draw market share from cash, checks, and credit, in that order. Finally, although we find an effect of cohort on payment technology adoption, this effect is unlikely to diminish substantially over a 10-year horizon.
AUTHORS: Borzekowski, Ron; Kiser, Elizabeth K.
DATE: 2006

Working Paper
Consumers' use of debit cards: patterns, preferences, and price response
Debit card use at the point of sale has grown dramatically in recent years in the U.S., and now exceeds the number of credit card transactions. However, many questions remain regarding patterns of debit card use, consumer preferences when using debit, and how consumers might respond to explicit pricing of card transactions. Using a new nationally representative consumer survey, this paper describes the current use of debit cards by U.S. consumers, including how demographics affect use. In addition, consumers' stated reasons for using debit cards are used to analyze how consumers substitute between debit and other payment instruments. We also examine the relationship between household financial conditions and payment choice. Finally, we use a key variable on bank-imposed transaction fees to analyze price sensitivity of card use, and find a 12 percent decline in overall use in reaction to a mean 1.8 percent fee charged on certain debit card transactions; we believe this represents the first microeconomic evidence in the United States on price sensitivity for a card payment at the point of sale.
AUTHORS: Borzekowski, Ron; Kiser, Elizabeth K.; Ahmed, Shaista
DATE: 2006

Working Paper
Competition and price discrimination in the market for mailing lists
This paper examines the relationship between competition and price discrimination in the market for mailing lists. More specifically, we examine whether sellers are more likely to segregate consumers by offering a menu of quality choices (second-degree price discrimination) and/or offering different prices to readily identifiable groups of consumers (third-degree price discrimination) in more competitive markets. We also examine how the fineness with which consumers are divided corresponds to the level of competition in the market. ; The dataset includes information about all consumer response lists derived from mail order buyers (i.e. lists derived from catalogs) available for rental in 1997 and 2002. Using industry classifications, we create measures of competition for each list. We then use these measures to predict whether given lists utilize discriminatory pricing strategies. ; Our results indicate that lists facing more competition are more likely to implement second-degree and third-degree price discrimination, and when implementing second-degree price discrimination, to offer menus with more choices.
AUTHORS: Borzekowski, Ron; Thomadsen, Raphael; Taragin, Charles
DATE: 2005

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