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Competition and cost pass-through in differentiated oligopolies

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  • Zimmerman, Paul R.
  • Carlson, Julie A.

Abstract

The impact that competition exerts on the incentives of firms to pass through reductions in their marginal costs is an important consideration in assessing the performance of alternate market structures. This paper examines the role of product differentiation on firm-specific and industry-wide pass-through rates. Relying on Shubik’s (1980) model of differentiated Cournot competition with linear demand, we show that there exists an initial critical range over which the firm-specific cost pass-through rate decreases in the number of firms. Beyond this range the rate continually increases – approaching 50 percent as the number of firms goes to infinity. This contrasts with a model of differentiated Bertrand competition in which cost pass through monotonically decreases in the number of firms. The disparate effects across the Cournot and Bertrand models are shown to stem from the influence of competition and product differentiation on the respective firm reaction functions. Suggestions for future empirical work based upon the models’ predictions and implications for antitrust policy are also discussed.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 25931.

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Date of creation: 15 Oct 2010
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:25931

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Keywords: Competitive effects; Oligopoly; Merger; Pass-through; Product differentiation;

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References

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  1. Dennis W. Carlton, 2007. "Does Antitrust Need to be Modernized?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(3), pages 155-176, Summer.
  2. S. P. Anderson & A. de Palma & B. Kreider, 1999. "Tax incidence in differentiated product oligopoly," THEMA Working Papers 99-10, THEMA (THéorie Economique, Modélisation et Applications), Université de Cergy-Pontoise.
  3. Kenneth Heyer, 2006. "Welfare Standards and Merger Analysis: Why not the Best?," EAG Discussions Papers 200608, Department of Justice, Antitrust Division.
  4. Bergstrom, Theodore C & Varian, Hal R, 1985. "When Are Nash Equilibria Independent of the Distribution of Agents' Characteristics?," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(4), pages 715-18, October.
  5. Donghun Kim & Ronald W. Cotterill, 2008. "COST PASS-THROUGH IN DIFFERENTIATED PRODUCT MARKETS: THE CASE OF U.S. PROCESSED CHEESE -super-* ," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(1), pages 32-48, 03.
  6. Wang, X. Henry & Zhao, Jingang, 2007. "Welfare reductions from small cost reductions in differentiated oligopoly," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 173-185, February.
  7. Philip Crooke & Luke Froeb & Steven Tschantz & Gregory Werden, 1999. "Effects of Assumed Demand Form on Simulated Postmerger Equilibria," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer, vol. 15(3), pages 205-217, November.
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Cited by:
  1. T.V.S. Ramamohan Rao, 2012. "Firm Specific Monopoly Power in Differentiated Oligopoly," Journal of Quantitative Economics, The Indian Econometric Society, vol. 10(1), pages 85-97, January.

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