PhD defence: Economics of Information and Incentives in Regulation of Market Failure: Information Disclosure, Impact Evaluation, Market Design, Antibiotics and Commodity Markets

PhD defence

Dagim Gashawtena Belay


The economics literature identifies externalities, asymmetric information and public goods as the most pervasive sources of market failure, which call for interventions in some form to attain socially optimal outcomes. This thesis consists of four stand-alone papers and aims to address regulation issues of market failure in two broad areas: antibiotic use and commodity markets. In particular, the thesis investigates the following regulations: (i) when there is a negative externality of resistance because farmers do not internalize the social costs of their antibiotic consumption; (ii) when the farmer has better knowledge about the abatement cost of his antibiotic use than the regulator; (iii) when society learns about farmers’ antibiotic use, which is otherwise undisclosed information, through information disclosure; and (iv) when there is asymmetric crop price information between farmers and buyers or intermediaries. The thesis reveals four main findings. First, without influencing their survival in the market, information disclosure reduces farmers’ subsequent antibiotic use and induces a prosocial input substitution in terms of an increase in vaccine purchases. Second, (antibiotic) input control under the Danish yellow card initiative reduces farmers’ profit and increases their operating expenses, and farmers are not spending more labor hours and money on biosecurity measures; instead, an increase in input costs in terms of veterinary medical expenses and feed costs, combined with reductions in technical efficiencies, might have driven the reduction in profit. The results indicate that such an isolated stringent regulation of antibiotics could undermine efficiency in the short run. Labeling schemes could help to internalize the additional costs that such regulations may impose. Third, simulation results based on Danish data show that Montero-type auctioning of antibiotic use rights can be adapted to address asymmetric information in farmers’ abatement costs and ensure socially optimal use of antibiotics while improving welfare. Fourth, access to price information increases farm gate prices and the share of land allocated to traded commodities at the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX), raising the production and output share of ECX-traded commodities. The thesis concludes that information and market incentives provide powerful ways of encouraging individuals towards prosocial (reduction of antibiotic use) and productive (marketable crop choice) behaviors in the presence of market failure.


Jørgen Dejgård Jensen, Professor, Department of Food and Resource Economics, University of Copenhagen

Liza Rosenbaum Nielsen, Professor, University of Copenhagen

Assesment Committee

Tove Christensen, Associate Professor, Department of Food and Resource Economics, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Silke Hüttel, Professor, University of Bonn

Mogens Lund, Research Director, Norwegian Institute for Bioeconomic Research

If you are interested in a full copy of the thesis, you can contact the PhD student or the supervisor.