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Why are firms sometimes unwilling to reduce costs?

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  • X. Wang

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  • Jingang Zhao

Abstract

This paper establishes three new results for multiproduct oligopolies: 1) it presents the first explicit expression of Nash equilibria for asymmetric multiproduct oligopolies; 2) it shows that reducing a multiproduct firms cost in Bertrand oligopolies will reduce its profits if the cost-reducing unit is sufficiently small; and 3) it demonstrates that a multiproduct firm has no incentive to eliminate a product whose sales are zero. Because a single-product firm whose sales are zero is indifferent between exiting and staying, and its cost reductions always increase its profits, our results are unique to the multiproduct firm, and they suggest that extending oligopoly studies from a single product to multi-products could be as significant as the extension of calculus from a single variable to multi-variables.
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Suggested Citation

  • X. Wang & Jingang Zhao, 2010. "Why are firms sometimes unwilling to reduce costs?," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 101(2), pages 103-124, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jeczfn:v:101:y:2010:i:2:p:103-124 DOI: 10.1007/s00712-010-0148-x
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Donald Smythe & Jingang Zhao, 2006. "The Complete Welfare Effects of Cost Reductions in a Cournot Oligopoly," Journal of Economics, Springer, pages 181-193.
    2. Tina Kao & Flavio Menezes, 2008. "Endogenous Mergers under Multi-Market Competition," Discussion Papers Series 355, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
    3. William Novshek, 1985. "On the Existence of Cournot Equilibrium," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, pages 85-98.
    4. Justin P. Johnson & David P. Myatt, 2003. "Multiproduct Quality Competition: Fighting Brands and Product Line Pruning," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 748-774.
    5. Luis M. B. Cabral, 2001. "Multiproduct Oligopoly and Bertrand Supertraps," Working Papers 01-04, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
    6. Kao, Tina & Menezes, Flavio, 2009. "Endogenous mergers under multi-market competition," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(12), pages 817-829, December.
    7. Zhang, Anming & Zhang, Yimin, 1996. "Stability of a Cournot-Nash equilibrium: The multiproduct case," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 441-462.
    8. Goldberg, Pinelopi Koujianou, 1995. "Product Differentiation and Oligopoly in International Markets: The Case of the U.S. Automobile Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(4), pages 891-951, July.
    9. Fevrier, Philippe & Linnemer, Laurent, 2004. "Idiosyncratic shocks in an asymmetric Cournot oligopoly," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 22(6), pages 835-848, June.
    10. Volker Grossmann, 2003. "Firm Size and Diversification: Asymmetric Multiproduct Firms under Cournot Competition," CESifo Working Paper Series 1047, CESifo Group Munich.
    11. Luís M. B. Cabral & Miguel Villas-Boas, 2005. "Bertrand Supertraps," Management Science, INFORMS, pages 599-613.
    12. Shapiro, Carl, 1989. "Theories of oligopoly behavior," Handbook of Industrial Organization,in: R. Schmalensee & R. Willig (ed.), Handbook of Industrial Organization, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 6, pages 329-414 Elsevier.
    13. Lapan, Harvey E. & Hennessy, David A., 2006. "A note on cost arrangement and market performance in a multi-product Cournot oligopoly," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 583-591, May.
    14. Dixit, Avinash K, 1986. "Comparative Statics for Oligopoly," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 27(1), pages 107-122, February.
    15. S. Baranzoni & P. Bianchi & L. Lambertini, 2000. "Multiproduct Firms, Product Differentiation, and Market Structure," Working Papers 368, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    16. Pham Do, K.H. & Folmer, H., 2003. "International Fisheries Agreements : The Feasibility and Impacts of Partial Cooperation," Discussion Paper 2003-52, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    17. Lapan, Harvey E. & Hennessy, David A., 2006. "Note on Cost Arrangement and Market Performance in a Multi-Product Cournot Oligopoly, A," Staff General Research Papers Archive 12720, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    18. Harrington, Joseph E, Jr, 1987. "Collusion in Multiproduct Oligopoly Games under a Finite Horizon," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 28(1), pages 1-14, February.
    19. Vives, Xavier, 2005. "Games with strategic complementarities: New applications to industrial organization," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 23(7-8), pages 625-637, September.
    20. 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.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Duarte Brito & Markos Tselekounis, 2017. "On the Impact of Input Prices on an Entrant’s Profit Under Multi-Product Competition," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 50(1), pages 105-125, February.
    2. Friedel Bolle, 2011. "Over- and under-investment according to different benchmarks," Journal of Economics, Springer, pages 219-238.
    3. Aymeric Lardon, 2017. "On the Coalitional Stability of Monopoly Power in Differentiated Bertrand and Cournot Oligopolies," GREDEG Working Papers 2017-10, Groupe de REcherche en Droit, Economie, Gestion (GREDEG CNRS), University of Nice Sophia Antipolis.
    4. Bolle, Friedel, 2008. "Over- and under-investment according to different benchmarks," Discussion Papers 265, European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder), Department of Business Administration and Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Effect of cost reduction; Multiproduct oligopoly; Price competition; C63; D43; L13;

    JEL classification:

    • C63 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Computational Techniques
    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets

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