Katja Seim

This researcher is on leave from NBER.

NBER Program Affiliations: IO
NBER Affiliation: On leave

NBER Working Papers and Publications

April 2017Economies of Density in E-Commerce: A Study of Amazon’s Fulfillment Center Network
with Jean-François Houde, Peter Newberry: w23361
We examine the economies of density associated with the expansion of Amazon’s distribution network from 2006 to 2018. We demonstrate that, in placing a fulfillment center in a new state, Amazon faces a trade-off between the revenue implications of exposing local customers to sales tax on their purchases and the cost savings from reducing the shipping distance to those customers. Using detailed data on online transactions, we estimate a model of demand for retail goods and show that consumers’ online shopping is sensitive to sales taxes. We then use the demand estimates and the spatial distribution of consumers relative to Amazon’s fulfillment centers to predict revenues and shipping distances under the observed fulfillment center roll-out and under counterfactual roll-outs over this time p...
January 2017Ownership Concentration and Strategic Supply Reduction
with Ulrich Doraszelski, Michael Sinkinson, Peichun Wang: w23034
We explore the sensitivity of the U.S. government's ongoing incentive auction to multi-license ownership by broadcasters. We document significant broadcast TV license purchases by private equity firms prior to the auction and perform a prospective analysis of the effect of ownership concentration on auction outcomes. We find that multi-license holders are able to raise spectrum acquisition costs by 22% by strategically withholding some of their licenses to increase the price for their remaining licenses. We analyze a potential rule change that reduces the distortion in payouts to license holders by up to 80%, but find that lower participation could greatly increase payouts and exacerbate strategic effects.
August 2010Public Monopoly and Economic Efficiency: Evidence from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board's Entry Decisions
with Joel Waldfogel: w16258
While private monopolists are generally assumed to maximize profits, the goals of public enterprises are less well known. Using the example of Pennsylvania's state liquor retailing monopoly, we use information on store location choices, prices, wholesale costs, and sales to uncover the goals implicit in its entry decisions. Does it seek to maximize profits or welfare? We estimate a spatial model of demand for liquor that allows us to calculate counterfactual configurations of stores that maximize profit and welfare. We find that welfare maximizing networks have roughly twice as many stores as would maximize profit. Moreover, the actual network is much more similar in size and configuration to the welfare maximizing configuration. An alternative to a state monopoly would be the common ...

Published: Katja Seim & Joel Waldfogel, 2013. "Public Monopoly and Economic Efficiency: Evidence from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board's Entry Decisions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(2), pages 831-62, April. citation courtesy of

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