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Regulation and the Durability of Goods


  • Richard L. Schmalensee


This paper considers the production of durable goods that deteriorate at a constant percentage rate under conditions of competitive and monopoly equilibrium. A perfect market in used units of the good is assumed, as is constant returns to scale in production. It is shown that a monopolist will generally produce goods that deteriorate faster than those produced by a competitive industry. Regulation of the durability of the monopolist's output will always cause him to increase the volume of services of the good available to the market. Government intervention to limit the monopolist's price-cost margin may cause the firm to increase the deterioration rate of its output, and such regulation may also lead the monopolist to decrease the volume of services of the good available to the market. In this case, regulation will have effects exactly contrary to the presumed intent of the regulators. The impact of price regulation is shown to depend on the shape of the demand curve for the services of the durable good. Finally, it is pointed out that both price and durability must be regulated if a monopolist is to be made to reproduce competitive performance.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard L. Schmalensee, 1970. "Regulation and the Durability of Goods," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 1(1), pages 54-64, Spring.
  • Handle: RePEc:rje:bellje:v:1:y:1970:i:spring:p:54-64

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    Cited by:

    1. Adriano Rampini, 2015. "Financing Durable Assets," 2015 Meeting Papers 915, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    2. Peran van Reeven & Enrico Pennings, 2016. "On the relation between multimarket contact and service quality: Mutual forbearance or network coordination?," Strategic Management Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 37(10), pages 2121-2134, October.
    3. Oded Koenigsberg & Rajeev Kohli & Ricardo Montoya, 2011. "The Design of Durable Goods," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 30(1), pages 111-122, 01-02.
    4. Michael Waldman, 2003. "Durable Goods Theory for Real World Markets," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(1), pages 131-154, Winter.
    5. Morton I. Kamien & Nancy L. Schwartz, 1972. "Product Durability Under Monopoly and Competition," Discussion Papers 7, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
    6. Morton I. Kamien & Nancy Schwartz, 1975. "Optimal Capital Accumulation and Durable Goods Production," Discussion Papers 141, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.

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