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Perfect Competition and the Creativity of the Market

Author

Listed:
  • Joseph M. Ostroy
  • Louis Makowski

Abstract

From the perspective of the Walrasian general equilibrium model, entrepreneurial and opportunistic behavior seems foreign. Can the model be refashioned so that it can accommodate such behavior? Many would say no, but we argue the contrary. Indeed, we present a reformulation of the model that serves as a gateway to, rather than a detour from, such contemporary issues as innovation and incentives. The trick is to reexamine what perfect competition means. Starting with an historical summary of general equilibrium, we sketch an image of the perfect competitor as an active market opportunist, seeking out profit potentials wherever he can.

Suggested Citation

  • Joseph M. Ostroy & Louis Makowski, 2001. "Perfect Competition and the Creativity of the Market," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(2), pages 479-535, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jeclit:v:39:y:2001:i:2:p:479-535
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/jel.39.2.479
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Oliver D. Hart, 1979. "Monopolistic Competition in a Large Economy with Differentiated Commodities," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 46(1), pages 1-30.
    2. Ostroy, Joseph M., 1980. "The no-surplus condition as a characterization of perfectly competitive equilibrium," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 183-207, April.
    3. Myerson, Roger B. & Satterthwaite, Mark A., 1983. "Efficient mechanisms for bilateral trading," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 265-281, April.
    4. Adam Brandenburger & Harborne Stuart, 2007. "Biform Games," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 53(4), pages 537-549, April.
    5. Makowski, Louis, 1980. "A characterization of perfectly competitive economies with production," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 208-221, April.
    6. Judith R. Gelman & Steven C. Salop, 1983. "Judo Economics: Capacity Limitation and Coupon Competition," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 14(2), pages 315-325, Autumn.
    7. Samuel Bowles & Herbert Gintis, 1993. "The Revenge of Homo Economicus: Contested Exchange and the Revival of Political Economy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(1), pages 83-102, Winter.
    8. Makowski, Louis & Ostroy, Joseph M., 1987. "Vickrey-Clarke-Groves mechanisms and perfect competition," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 244-261, August.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D41 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Perfect Competition
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • D51 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - Exchange and Production Economies

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