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Biography

Kellogg School of Management
Elinor and H. Wendell Hobbs Professor of Management, Professor of Strategy

Thomas Hubbard has been a professor at Kellogg since 2005, and served as Senior Associate Dean, Strategic Initiatives from 2012-2015. Before coming to Kellogg, he was a professor at the University of Chicago GSB and the University of California, Los Angeles. During 2004-5, he was a visiting professor at Columbia GSB.

Professor Hubbard's research interests mainly concern how information problems affect the organization of firms and markets, and therefore the structure of industries. His work has appeared in top-ranked journals such as the American Economic Review, the Quarterly Journal of Economics, and the Rand Journal of Economics. He is a faculty research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Areas of Expertise Economics of Organizations
Strategy
Transportation

Education PhD, 1996, Economics, Stanford University

BA, 1989, Economics, Princeton University, High Honors

Academic Positions Senior Associate Dean of Strategic Initiatives, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, 2012-2016

Elinor and H. Wendell Hobbs Professor of Management, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, 2011-present

John L. and Helen Kellogg Distinguished Professor of Management and Strategy, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, 2007-2011

Research Associate, National Bureau of Economic Research, 2006-present

Chairman, Department of Management and Strategy, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, 2010-2012

Associate Professor of Management and Strategy, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, 2005-2007

Visiting Professor of Finance and Economics, Columbia Business School, Columbia University, 2004-2005

Associate Professor of Economics and Strategy, University of Chicago, 2002-2005

Assistant Professor of Economics and Strategy, University of Chicago, 1999-2002

Visiting Assistant Professor of Strategy, University of Chicago, 1998-1999

Faculty Research Fellow, National Bureau of Economic Research, 1997-2006

Assistant Professor of Economics, University of California Los Angeles, 1995-1999

Junior Staff Economist, President's Council of Economic Advisors, 1991-1992

Researcher, Economists Incorporated, 1989-1990

Honors and Awards Oliver E. Williamson Award for Best Paper in Law, Economics, and Organization

Best Professor Award, Kellogg-HKUST EMBA Program

Education Academic Positions Honors and Awards

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Cases

Hubbard, Thomas N.. 2004. Affiliation, Integration, and Information: Ownership Incentives and Industry Structure. Journal of Industrial Economics. 52(2): 201-227.

This paper presents theory and evidence on horizontal industry structure. At issue is the question: what makes industries necessarily fragmented? The theoretical model examines trade-offs associated with affiliation and integration, and how they are affected by the contracting environment. I show how contractual incompleteness can lead industries to be necessarily fragmented. I also show that contractual improvements will tend to lead to a greater concentration of brands, but whether they lead industries to be more or less concentrated depends on what becomes contractible. I then discuss the propositions generated by the model through a series of case study examples.

Hubbard, Thomas N. and Michael Mazzeo. 2017. When Demand Increases Cause Shakeouts.

Most canonical models of competition conclude that increases in demand should (weakly) lead to more firms. However, in models where competition is in quality, and quality is produced with fixed costs, increases in demand can lead to a competitive response that brings about shakeouts – higher demand can lead to fewer firms. This paper provides empirical evidence of this effect in the context of hotels and motels in the mid-to-late 20th century, where an important element of quality competition took the form of whether firms supplied recreational amenities such as swimming pools. We first provide evidence that the completion of Interstate highways is associated greater demand for lodging, showing that it is associated with increases in employment in the sector. We then investigate how industry structure adjusts to these shocks; we show that highway completion leads to fewer (but larger) firms. On average in our sample, the completion of highways leads to shakeouts. We then examine whether this effect is greater in warmer areas where the returns to investment in outdoor recreational amenities (i.e., swimming pools) are greater. We show that while the increase in employment in this industry is the same in warmer and cooler regions, highway completion only led to shakeouts in warmer regions. Finally, we investigate whether these effects appear when looking at restaurants, an industry where quality is supplied primarily through variable costs rather than fixed costs (Berry/Waldfogel,2010). Unlike for hotels and motels, we find no evidence that highway completion is associated with shakeouts in this industry. Our evidence connects to an important, but sometimes overlooked, finding of Sutton (1992): shakeouts – which in some cases could take the form or merger or merger waves – can be catalyzed by increases in market size. The competitive responses that lead to shake-outs need not only be initiated by changes in the “technology” that produces quality, but sometimes can be initiated simply by positive demand shocks. Firms’ incentives to grow – and in some cases to merge with other firms -- in response to demand increases need not be motivated by anticompetitive incentives, but rather may be motivated by increased incentives to compete more effectively on nonprice dimensions.

Hubbard, Thomas N. and Michael J. Moore. 2012. BHP Billiton: Mining Potash. Case 5-411-755 (KEL647).

BHP, an Australian mining company, threatens to enter the potash mining industry through a hostile takeover of the Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan. Complicating matters is the fact that the Canadian potash industry has operated as a legal cartel in which the provincial government has a stake. This case enables students to assess BHP’s strategy in terms of value creation and value capture, how it relates to its existing investments in the industry, and the risks and rewards of alternatives to BHP’s strategy

Hubbard, Thomas N.. 2004. Affiliation, Integration, and Information: Ownership Incentives and Industry Structure. Journal of Industrial Economics. 52(2): 201-227.

This paper presents theory and evidence on horizontal industry structure. At issue is the question: what makes industries necessarily fragmented? The theoretical model examines trade-offs associated with affiliation and integration, and how they are affected by the contracting environment. I show how contractual incompleteness can lead industries to be necessarily fragmented. I also show that contractual improvements will tend to lead to a greater concentration of brands, but whether they lead industries to be more or less concentrated depends on what becomes contractible. I then discuss the propositions generated by the model through a series of case study examples.

Hubbard, Thomas N. and Michael Mazzeo. 2017. When Demand Increases Cause Shakeouts.

Most canonical models of competition conclude that increases in demand should (weakly) lead to more firms. However, in models where competition is in quality, and quality is produced with fixed costs, increases in demand can lead to a competitive response that brings about shakeouts – higher demand can lead to fewer firms. This paper provides empirical evidence of this effect in the context of hotels and motels in the mid-to-late 20th century, where an important element of quality competition took the form of whether firms supplied recreational amenities such as swimming pools. We first provide evidence that the completion of Interstate highways is associated greater demand for lodging, showing that it is associated with increases in employment in the sector. We then investigate how industry structure adjusts to these shocks; we show that highway completion leads to fewer (but larger) firms. On average in our sample, the completion of highways leads to shakeouts. We then examine whether this effect is greater in warmer areas where the returns to investment in outdoor recreational amenities (i.e., swimming pools) are greater. We show that while the increase in employment in this industry is the same in warmer and cooler regions, highway completion only led to shakeouts in warmer regions. Finally, we investigate whether these effects appear when looking at restaurants, an industry where quality is supplied primarily through variable costs rather than fixed costs (Berry/Waldfogel,2010). Unlike for hotels and motels, we find no evidence that highway completion is associated with shakeouts in this industry. Our evidence connects to an important, but sometimes overlooked, finding of Sutton (1992): shakeouts – which in some cases could take the form or merger or merger waves – can be catalyzed by increases in market size. The competitive responses that lead to shake-outs need not only be initiated by changes in the “technology” that produces quality, but sometimes can be initiated simply by positive demand shocks. Firms’ incentives to grow – and in some cases to merge with other firms -- in response to demand increases need not be motivated by anticompetitive incentives, but rather may be motivated by increased incentives to compete more effectively on nonprice dimensions.

Hubbard, Thomas N. and Michael J. Moore. 2012. BHP Billiton: Mining Potash. Case 5-411-755 (KEL647).

BHP, an Australian mining company, threatens to enter the potash mining industry through a hostile takeover of the Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan. Complicating matters is the fact that the Canadian potash industry has operated as a legal cartel in which the provincial government has a stake. This case enables students to assess BHP’s strategy in terms of value creation and value capture, how it relates to its existing investments in the industry, and the risks and rewards of alternatives to BHP’s strategy

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