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Optimal Trade and Industrial Policy Under Oligopoly

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  • Jonathan Eaton
  • Gene M. Grossman

Abstract

We analyze the welfare effects of trade and industrial policy under oligopoly, and characterize optimal intervention under a variety of assumptions about market structure and conduct. When all output is exported, optimal policy with a single home firm depends on the difference between foreign firms' actual responses to the home firm's actions and the responses that the home firm conjectures. A subsidy often is indicated for Cournot behavior, but a tax generally is optimal if firms engage in Bertrand competition. If conjectures are "consistent," free trade is optimal. With domestic consumption, intervention can raise national welfare by reducing the deviation of price from marginal cost.

Suggested Citation

  • Jonathan Eaton & Gene M. Grossman, 1986. "Optimal Trade and Industrial Policy Under Oligopoly," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 101(2), pages 383-406.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:101:y:1986:i:2:p:383-406.
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    1. Barbara J. Spencer & James A. Brander, 1982. "Tariff Protection and Imperfect Competition," Working Papers 517, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
    2. Dixit, Avinash, 1984. "International Trade Policy for Oligopolistic Industries," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 94(376a), pages 1-16, Supplemen.
    3. Martin K. Perry, 1982. "Oligopoly and Consistent Conjectural Variations," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 13(1), pages 197-205, Spring.
    4. Morton I. Kamien & Nancy L. Schwartz, 1983. "Conjectural Variations," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 16(2), pages 191-211, May.
    5. Barbara J. Spencer & James A. Brander, 1983. "International R & D Rivalry and Industrial Strategy," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 50(4), pages 707-722.
    6. Seade, Jesus K, 1980. "On the Effects of Entry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(2), pages 479-489, March.
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