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Knife-Edge Or Plateau: When Do Market Models Tip?

  • Glenn Ellison
  • Drew Fudenberg

This paper studies whether agents must agglomerate at a single location in a class of models of two-sided interaction. In these models there is an increasing returns effect that favors agglomeration, but also a crowding or market-impact effect that makes agents prefer to be in a market with fewer agents of their own type. We show that such models do not tip in the way the term is commonly used. Instead, they have a broad plateau of equilibria with two active markets, and tipping occurs only when one market is below a critical size threshold. Our assumptions are fairly weak, and are satisfied in Krugman's model of labor market pooling, a heterogeneous-agent version of Pagano's asset market model, and Ellison, Fudenberg, and Möbius' model of competing auctions. © 2001 the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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Article provided by MIT Press in its journal The Quarterly Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 118 (2003)
Issue (Month): 4 (November)
Pages: 1249-1278

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:qjecon:v:118:y:2003:i:4:p:1249-1278
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  1. Dimitri Vayanos, 1999. "Strategic trading and welfare in a dynamic market," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 449, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  2. Guy Dumais & Glenn Ellison & Edward L Glaeser, 1998. "Geographic Concentration as a Dynamic Process," Working Papers 98-3, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  3. Fujita, Masahisa, 1988. "A monopolistic competition model of spatial agglomeration : Differentiated product approach," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 87-124, February.
  4. Glenn Ellison & Edward L. Glaeser, 1994. "Geographic Concentration in U.S. Manufacturing Industries: A Dartboard Approach," NBER Working Papers 4840, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Ellison, Glenn & Fudenberg, Drew & Mobius, Markus, 2010. "Competing Auctions," Staff General Research Papers 32106, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  6. Klemperer, Paul D & Meyer, Margaret A, 1989. "Supply Function Equilibria in Oligopoly under Uncertainty," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(6), pages 1243-77, November.
  7. Pagano, Marco, 1989. "Trading Volume and Asset Liquidity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 104(2), pages 255-74, May.
  8. J.V. Henderson, 1972. "The Sizes and Types of Cities," Working Papers 75, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  9. Gehrig, Thomas, 1998. "Competing markets," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 277-310, February.
  10. Krugman, Paul, 1991. "Increasing Returns and Economic Geography," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(3), pages 483-99, June.
  11. Kyle, Albert S, 1989. "Informed Speculation with Imperfect Competition," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(3), pages 317-55, July.
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