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Monopolistic competition and optimum product selection: why and how heterogeneity matters

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  • Antonella Nocco
  • Gianmarco I. P. Ottaviano
  • Matteo Salto

Abstract

After some decades of relative oblivion, the interest in the optimality properties of monopolistic competition has recently re-emerged due to the availability of an appropriate and parsimonious framework to deal with firm heterogeneity. Within this framework we show that non-separable utility, variable demand elasticity and endogenous firm heterogeneity cause the market equilibrium to err in many ways, concerning the number of products, the size and the choice of producers, the overall size of the monopolistically competitive sector. More crucially with respect to the existing literature, we also show that the extent of the errors depends on the degree of firm heterogeneity. In particular, the inefficiency of the market equilibrium seems to be largest when selection among heterogeneous firms is needed most, that is, when there are relatively many firms with low productivity and relatively few firms with high productivity.

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File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/51541/
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library in its series LSE Research Online Documents on Economics with number 51541.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:51541

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  1. Melitz, Marc J & Redding, Stephen J., 2013. "Heterogeneous Firms and Trade," CEPR Discussion Papers 9317, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Dixit, Avinash K & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1977. "Monopolistic Competition and Optimum Product Diversity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(3), pages 297-308, June.
  3. Marc J. Melitz & Stephen J. Redding, 2013. "Firm Heterogeneity and Aggregate Welfare," Sciences Po publications 2013-11, Sciences Po.
  4. Kokovin, Sergey & Thisse, Jacques-François & Zhelobodko, Evgeny, 2010. "Monopolistic Competition: Beyond the CES," CEPR Discussion Papers 7947, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Arnaud Costinot & Andres Rodriguez-Clare & Costas Arkolakis, 2010. "New Trade Models, Same Old Gains?," 2010 Meeting Papers 433, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  6. Bagnoli, M. & Bergstrom, T., 1989. "Log-Concave Probability And Its Applications," Papers 89-23, Michigan - Center for Research on Economic & Social Theory.
  7. Gianmarco Ottaviano & Takatoshi Tabuchi & Jacques-Francois Tissse, 1999. "Agglomeration and Trade Revisited," CIRJE F-Series CIRJE-F-65, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
  8. Marc J. Melitz & Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano, 2005. "Market Size, Trade, and Productivity," Development Working Papers 201, Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano.
  9. Marc J. Melitz & Stephen J. Redding, 2013. "New Trade Models, New Welfare Implications," NBER Working Papers 18919, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Kristian Behrens & Yasusada Murata, 2009. "Trade, Competition, and Efficiency," Cahiers de recherche 0940, CIRPEE.
  11. Carole Maignan & Gianmarco Ottaviano & Dino Pinelli & Francesco Rullani, 2003. "Bio-Ecological Diversity vs. Socio-Economic Diversity: A Comparison of Existing Measures," Working Papers 2003.13, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  12. Behrens, Kristian & Murata, Yasusada, 2007. "General equilibrium models of monopolistic competition: A new approach," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 136(1), pages 776-787, September.
  13. Marc J. Melitz, 2003. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(6), pages 1695-1725, November.
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Cited by:
  1. Antonella Nocco & Gianmarco I. P. Ottaviano & Matteo Salto, 2014. "Monopolistic Competition and Optimum Product Selection," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(5), pages 304-09, May.

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