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Duality in an Industry with Fluctuating Demand

  • Waka Cheung

    (Department of Economics, Monash University)

  • Yew-Kwang Ng

    (Department of Economics, Monash University)

A perfect-competition model is developed to analyze duality in specialization and technology such as in the men¡¯s clothing industry, an industry with highly seasonal nature of the business cycle. We show that when the market fluctuation is large enough, some firms will specialize in one variety with the advantage of static efficiency, while other firms will generalize in multi-variety production as a means of self-insurance. The specialized firms mainly satisfy the stable component of market demand, while the generalized firms satisfy only the variable components of demand. Relative to the specialized firms, the generalized firms have a smaller firm size and a lower degree of vertical division of labor within the firm, and use the technology with more flexible specialization but less capital-labor ratio. two-person bargaining outcomes.

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Article provided by Society for AEF in its journal Annals of Economics and Finance.

Volume (Year): 8 (2007)
Issue (Month): 2 (November)
Pages: 229-250

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Handle: RePEc:cuf:journl:y:2007:v:8:i:2:p:229-250
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  1. Becker, G.S. & Murphy, K.M., 1991. "The Division of Labor, Coordination Costs, and Knowledge," University of Chicago - Economics Research Center 92-5, Chicago - Economics Research Center.
  2. Sheshinski, Eytan & Dreze, Jacques H, 1976. "Demand Fluctuations, Capacity Utilization, and Costs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(5), pages 731-42, December.
  3. Mills, David E, 1984. "Demand Fluctuations and Endogenous Firm Flexibility," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 33(1), pages 55-71, September.
  4. Ehrlich, Isaac & Becker, Gary S, 1972. "Market Insurance, Self-Insurance, and Self-Protection," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(4), pages 623-48, July-Aug..
  5. Mills, David E & Schumann, Laurence, 1985. "Industry Structure with Fluctuating Demand," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 758-67, September.
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