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The Lerner Index of Monopoly Power: Origins and Uses

Author

Listed:
  • Kenneth G. Elzinga
  • David E. Mills

Abstract

Abba Lerner's paper in the Review of Economic Studies (1934) is the source of what is now referred to as the Lerner Index of monopoly power. The Lerner Index has become the standard measure of monopoly power and one of the most widely cited indexes in the discipline of economics. This paper traces the origins of the index, sets out its strengths and weaknesses, and examines its role in antitrust enforcement. The Index is a better indicator of a firm's price-setting discretion than its ability to sustain monopoly prices.

Suggested Citation

  • Kenneth G. Elzinga & David E. Mills, 2011. "The Lerner Index of Monopoly Power: Origins and Uses," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(3), pages 558-564, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:101:y:2011:i:3:p:558-64
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Hall, Robert E, 1988. "The Relation between Price and Marginal Cost in U.S. Industry," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(5), pages 921-947, October.
    2. Holt, Charles Jr., 1982. "On the use of profit data to estimate the social cost of monopoly power in an oligopoly," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 283-289.
    3. Saving, Thomas R, 1970. "Concentration Ratios and the Degree of Monopoly," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 11(1), pages 139-146, February.
    4. Pindyck, Robert S, 1985. "The Measurement of Monopoly Power in Dynamic Markets," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(1), pages 193-222, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Tabacco, Giovanni Alberto, 2013. "A new way to assess banking competition," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 121(2), pages 167-169.
    2. Hinloopen, Jeroen & Smrkolj, Grega & Wagener, Florian, 2013. "In Defense of Trusts: R&D Cooperation in Global Perspective," MPRA Paper 63551, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 09 Apr 2015.
    3. Gutierrez, German & Philippon, Thomas, 2017. "Declining Competition and Investment in the U.S," CEPR Discussion Papers 12536, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. ZHANG, Lu & GUO, Qing & ZHANG, Junbiao & HUANG, Yong & XIONG, Tao, 2015. "Did China׳s rare earth export policies work? — Empirical evidence from USA and Japan," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 82-90.
    5. Lyons, Savanna May, 2016. "Ratios and benchmarks as tools for local food hub decision-making: a comparative case study," ISU General Staff Papers 3546, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    6. Lawrence J. White, 2013. "Monopoly and Dominant Firms: Antitrust Economics and Policy Approaches," Working Papers 13-13, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
    7. Germeshausen, Robert & Panke, Timo & Wetzel, Heike, 2014. "Investigating the influence of firm characteristics on the ability to exercise market power: A stochastic frontier analysis approach with an application to the iron ore market," ZEW Discussion Papers 14-105, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    8. Aparicio-Fenoll, Ainhoa, 2015. "The effect of product market competition on job security," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 145-159.
    9. Machiel Mulder, 2015. "Competition in the Dutch Electricity Market: An Empirical Analysis over 2006-2011," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 2).
    10. 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.
    11. Fu, Xiaoqing (Maggie) & Lin, Yongjia (Rebecca) & Molyneux, Philip, 2014. "Bank competition and financial stability in Asia Pacific," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 64-77.
    12. Bertschek, Irene & Briglauer, Wolfgang & Hüschelrath, Kai & Krämer, Jan & Frübing, Stefan & Kesler, Reinhold & Saam, Marianne, 2016. "Metastudie zum Fachdialog Ordnungsrahmen für die Digitale Wirtschaft: Im Auftrag des Bundesministeriums für Wirtschaft und Energie (BMWi)," ZEW Expertises, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research, number 147040, May.
    13. Xiaoqing (Maggie) Fu & Yongjia (Rebecca) Lin & Philip Molyneux, 2016. "Bank Capital And Liquidity Creation In Asia Pacific," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 54(2), pages 966-993, April.
    14. repec:eee:jbfina:v:87:y:2018:i:c:p:40-48 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Knaut, Andreas & Obermüller, Frank & Weiser, Florian, 2017. "Tender Frequency and Market Concentration in Balancing Power Markets," EWI Working Papers 2017-4, Energiewirtschaftliches Institut an der Universitaet zu Koeln (EWI).
    16. Montgomery, Heather & Harimaya, Kozo & Takahashi, Yuki, 2014. "Too big to succeed? Banking sector consolidation and efficiency," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 86-106.
    17. Nicola Giocoli, 2012. "Who Invented the Lerner Index? Luigi Amoroso, the Dominant Firm Model, and the Measurement of Market Power," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 41(3), pages 181-191, November.
    18. Lyons, Savanna May, 2016. "Ratios and benchmarks as tools for local food hub decision-making: a comparative case study," ISU General Staff Papers 201601010800006095, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.

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