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The quiet life of a monopolist: The efficiency losses of monopoly reconsidered

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  • Jun Chen

    ()

  • Zhiqi Chen

    ()

Abstract

In this paper we study the efficiency losses of monopoly by analyzing a model where a firm's total costs of production decrease with the manager's effort to control costs. We consider two separate cases with regard to ownership and control: (1) the owner of the firm manages the firm himself; and (2) the owner hires a manager to operate the firm. We demonstrate that even in the case where the owner manages the firm, the level of effort exerted by the owner-manager of a monopoly is not first-best. Interestingly, the productive inefficiency of monopoly in this case may be caused by too much rather than too little effort. In such a situation, moreover, the separation of ownership and control can mitigate the productive inefficiency of monopoly, thus raising the intriguing possibility that managerial slack can actually improve the efficiency of monopoly equilibrium. To phrase our results in Hicks'(1935) terminology, a monopolist does not necessarily live a quiet life, and a quiet life is not necessarily a bad thing from the perspective of economic efficiency.
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Suggested Citation

  • Jun Chen & Zhiqi Chen, 2011. "The quiet life of a monopolist: The efficiency losses of monopoly reconsidered," Frontiers of Economics in China, Springer;Higher Education Press, vol. 6(3), pages 389-412, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:frecch:v:6:y:2011:i:3:p:389-412
    DOI: 10.1007/s11459-011-0139-z
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Hüschelrath, Kai, 2008. "Is it Worth all the Trouble? The Costs and Benefits of Antitrust Enforcement," ZEW Discussion Papers 08-107, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    monopoly; efficiency losses; principal-agent problem; L1;

    JEL classification:

    • L12 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Monopoly; Monopolization Strategies
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design

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