Economic Reports

Bureau of Economics Reports: Major, published reports, usually containing original research and entailing a substantial commitment of resources, concerning an issue of current policy interest or of long term impact on Federal Trade Commission antitrust or consumer protection missions.

The more recent Economic Reports are offered in Adobe Acrobat PDF format.

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Section 319 of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003: Fifth Interim Federal Trade Commission Report to Congress Concerning the Accuracy of Information in Credit Reports

This study examines accuracy in consumer credit reports using a nationally representative sample of consumers with credit histories. Participants in the study examined their credit reports from...

Summary Report On The FTC Behavioral Economics Conference

Joseph P. Mulholland

A summary report on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) conference “Behavioral Economics and Consumer Policy Conference,” held on April 20, 2007 in Washington, DC. Sponsored by the Bureau of...

Improving Consumer Mortgage Disclosures: An Empirical Assessment of Current and Prototype Disclosure Forms: A Bureau of Economics Staff Report

James M. Lacko, Janis K. Pappalardo

This study presents the results of 36 in-depth interviews with recent mortgage customers, and quantitative consumer testing with over 800 mortgage customers, that examined how consumers search for...

The Effect of Mortgage Broker Compensation Disclosures on Consumers and Competition: A Controlled Experiment

James M. Lacko, Janis K. Pappalardo
This report presents the results of a study that uses a controlled experiment with over 500 recent mortgage customers to examine the mortgage broker compensation disclosure proposed by the Department...

Survey of Rent-to-Own Customers

James M. Lacko, Signe-Mary McKernan, Manoj Hastak
This report presents the results of a nationwide survey of rent-to-own customers. The survey found that most rent-to-own merchandise is ultimately purchased by the customer, most customers are satisfied with their rent-to-own transactions, and most customers are treated well if they are late making a payment, although some customers are subject to possibly abusive collection practices. The report recommends that the total cost of purchasing merchandise through a rent-to-own transaction be disclosed on product labels that the consumer can see while shopping, in addition to disclosures in rental agreements and advertisements.

Transformation and Continuity: The U.S. Carbonated Soft Drink Bottling Industry and Antitrust Policy Since 1980

Harold Saltzman, Roy Levy, and John C. Hilke
This report analyzes the U.S. carbonated soft drink ("CSD") industry, with its primary focus on the 1980s and early 1990s, a period of rapid structural change that transformed the industry. In addition to documenting these changes, an empirical model is developed to evaluate the antitrust merger policies that were pursued by the Federal Trade Commission ("FTC") during this period -- the FTC challenged large horizontal acquisitions of Dr Pepper and 7UP franchises by Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola bottlers, but did not challenge vertical acquisitions of CSD bottlers by their franchisors or other horizontal bottler acquisitions. The findings tend to support or are consistent with these policies, but also identify areas that seem to warrant further study.

The Pharmaceutical Industry: A Discussion of Competitive and Antitrust Issues in an Environment of Change

Roy Levy
The report reviews significant informational, institutional, and structural changes that have influenced price and non-price competition strategies of brand-name pharmaceutical companies, particularly during the last 15 years. The study considers the possible antitrust implications of these changes by examining alternative anticompetitive and procompetitive explanations for the pricing, vertical contracting, and vertical and horizontal consolidation strategies that have emerged in this environment of change in the pharmaceutical industry.

A Generic Copy Test of Food Health Claims in Advertising

Dennis Murphy, Theodore H. Hoppock, Michelle K. Rusk
The attached memorandum presents the results of a large scale advertising copy test project that was conducted jointly by the Division of Advertising Practices and the Bureau of Economics of the Federal Trade Commission. This research explored several issues related to the Commission's 1994 Enforcement Policy Statement on Food Advertising ("Statement"). That document describes the manner in which the Commission's approach to advertising relates to the FDA's regulations governing the use of nutrient content descriptors and health claims in food labeling.

Competition and the Financial Impact of the Proposed Tobacco Industry Settlement

The report analyzes the potential impact of the proposed tobacco industry settlement on cigarette prices, industry profits, and government revenues. The main conclusions of the report are that (1) the antitrust exemption may reduce competition in the industry and allow the industry to profit from the settlement by raising prices more than enough to cover the annual payments requires; (2) since the annual payments are essentially equivalent to an excise tax, even if the settlement does not have anti-competitive effects, we can expect that cigarette prices will rise by enough to generate revenues to make the annual payments; and (3) the government revenues will increase due to the settlement.

Competition Among Hospitals

Monica Noether

Hospital price and expense data for 1978-79 are examined to identify the effects of competition. The results imply that a reduction in market concentration results in an increase in both price and...

Restrictions on Dental Auxiliaries

J. Nellie Liang and Jonathan Ogur

Examines empirically the effects of various state restrictions on the number and use of dental hygienists and assistants. Concludes that relaxation of restrictions on the number of hygienists that...