Market Structure, Quality and Durability
This paper analyzes the effects of market structure -- monopoly versus competition -- on the quality and durability of goods. Also, it tries to find the impact of government regulation on these variables. The types of quality improvements discussed are: quality as pure substitute for quantity; quality which increases the demand for the good; and quality improvement which increases the durability of the good. In general, it is impossible to deduce that quality is independent of market structure. It depends on the cost structure. The paper shows that when quality is a substitute for quantity, both quality and quantity of the monopoly might fall short of those in the competitive market. Regulating only quality, or only quantity, may increase the monopoly misallocations of resources. In other types of quality improvements discussed, it may turn out that quality and durability may be better or worse in the monopolized industry than in the competitive one. Regulating only quality may improve the resource allocation but not eliminate the bias. Quantity regulation by itself may be sufficient for producing the optimal flow of services.
Volume (Year): 4 (1973)
Issue (Month): 1 (Spring)
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