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MIRAVETE

ABOUT ME
I am Rex G. Baker Professor of Political Economy at the University of Texas at Austin and Research Fellow at CEPR, a London based, research network of European economists. I also hold a part-time affiliation at the Centre for Competition Policy/UEA. Before landing in Austin I held positions at much colder places such as INSEAD, NYU, and UPenn. I completed my undergraduate studies at Universidad de Valencia and later my Ph.D. in Economics at Northwestern University, Evanston, IL.

My area of research is Empirical Industrial Organization with an edge on price discrimination. Many of my works make use of theoretical models of nonlinear pricing to develop structural estimation methods that account for asymmetry of information and strategic interactions that firms encounter when they design their tariff options. I have applied a significant share of my research to study telecommunications pricing, both under monopoly and competition. This line of research has been somewhat left aside over the past few years, among other things, because I found it much easier to sell some other applications. But I intend to return to this arena with a series of papers on common/exclusive agency and nonlinear pricing competition. My papers related to this line of research have been published in Econometrica, International Economic Review, Journal of the European Economic Association, Journal of Mathematical Economics, Journal of Regulatory Economics, and Review of Economic Studies.

In a somewhat surprising way, one of the by-products of my research on pricing led me to consider whether consumers learned to choose among alternative tariff plans. I was quite ignorant at the time of the behavioral tide that stressed just the opposite: consumers' trouble choosing their objectively best option. If any, my contribution to this area consists on using current econometric methods to control for unobserved heterogeneity, state dependence and the possibility of learning using a large individual panel data set. My evidence, contrary to the common wisdom among most behavioral economists, shows that choice mistakes are rarely systematic and that consumers react to wrong choices by switching contract options. My work dealing with the choice among telephone tariff plans has appeared in the American Economic Review, Quantitative Marketing and Economics, and Review of Economics and Statistics. Fortunately, results hold not only for customers of telephone services but also among elders when choosing among numerous and complex prescription drug plans. This policy relevant work has appeared recently in the American Economic Review. On the supply side of the problem, I studied whether an increase in competition leads firms to design more deceptive contracts. The evidence is not conclusive but the hypothesis that competing firms can easily take advantage of consumers' lack of attention appears not to hold. This work appeared in the American Economic Journal: Microeconomics.

My third main area of research deals with the empirical measurement of innovation complementarities. While initially the idea was to empirically implement the lattice-theoreical micro models of firms' decisions developed during the 1990s, this investigation opened the door to some interesting econometric results and most importantly, to what I think is the first well-defined industry evaluation of the effect of competition on the likelihood of firms adopting innovations. The outcome of this line of research appeared in the American Economic Review, Economics Letters, and the Journal of Industrial Economics.

I am currently working on the redistributive effects of ruling out price discrimination when consumers are clearly heterogeneous. This project makes use of BLP estimation of alcohol demand using data from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board. I hope that a sequel addresses some interesting dynamic analysis of mergers. The other projects that keep my mind busy lately are concerned with the massive adoption of diesel-powered engines in Europe and the logic of scrapping programs in the automobile industry.

My research has been funded by the NET Institute, the National Science Foundation, and the National Institutes of Health. I am currently editor of the Review of Network Economics and associate editor of the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization but over the years I also held editorial positions at the Journal of the European Economic Association, IJIO, and Information Economics and Policy. I have taught Industrial Organization (at various levels), intermediate Microeconomics, principles of Economics, as well as Microeconomics for MBAs.

On the personal side, I would say that I was born -too many years ago- in Málaga, Spain. In addition to economics, I like music (of almost all kinds, but with a bias in favor of classical), good movies, and unfortunately, politics. I would like to think of myself as a good photographer although the truth is that any good photo of mine is more likely the lucky outcome of my "simulated annealing based photographic approach" rather than anything else. I am happyly married and have two wonderful children.