The Quiet Life of a Monopolist: The Efficiency Losses of Monopoly Reconsidered
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.
|Date of creation:||02 Jun 2008|
|Date of revision:||Sep 2011|
|Publication status:||Published: Revised version in Frontiers of Economics in China, Vol. 6, No. 3 (September 2011), pp. 389–412|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: C870 Loeb Building, 1125 Colonel By Drive, Ottawa Ontario, K1S 5B6 Canada|
|Order Information:|| Email: |
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Nalebuff, Barry J & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1983. "Information, Competition, and Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(2), pages 278-83, May.
- Delbono, Flavio & Denicolo, Vincenzo, 1990. "R & D investment in a symmetric and homogeneous oligopol : Bertrand vs Cournot," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 297-313, June.
- Piccolo, Salvatore & D'Amato, Marcello & Martina, Riccardo, 2008. "Product market competition and organizational slack under profit-target contracts," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(6), pages 1389-1406, November.
- Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1987.
"Aggregation and Linearity in the Provision of Intertemporal Incentives,"
Econometric Society, vol. 55(2), pages 303-28, March.
- Bengt Holmstrom & Paul R. Milgrom, 1985. "Aggregation and Linearity in the Provision of Intertemporal Incentives," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 742, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
- Oliver E. Williamson, 1967. "Hierarchical Control and Optimum Firm Size," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75, pages 123.
- Gilbert, Richard J & Newbery, David M G, 1982. "Preemptive Patenting and the Persistence of Monopoly," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(3), pages 514-26, June.
- Boone, J., 2000.
2000-104, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
- Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Tirole, Jean, 1986.
"Using Cost Observation to Regulate Firms,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(3), pages 614-41, June.
- Bengt Holmstrom, 1979.
"Moral Hazard and Observability,"
Bell Journal of Economics,
The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(1), pages 74-91, Spring.
- Flavio Delbono & Vincenzo Denicolo, 1991.
"Incentives to Innovate in a Cournot Oligopoly,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
Oxford University Press, vol. 106(3), pages 951-961.
- Sanford J Grossman & Oliver D Hart, 2001.
"An Analysis of the Principal-Agent Problem,"
Levine's Working Paper Archive
391749000000000339, David K. Levine.
- Sanford Grossman & Oliver Hart, . "An Analysis of the Principal-Agent Problem," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 15-80, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
- Michael Raith, 2003. "Competition, Risk, and Managerial Incentives," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1425-1436, September.
- Klaus M. Schmidt, 1997. "Managerial Incentives and Product Market Competition," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(2), pages 191-213.
- Schmidt, Klaus M., 1996.
"Managerial Incentives and Product Market Competition,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
1382, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Schmidt, Klaus M., 1997. "Managerial Incentives and Product Market Competition," Munich Reprints in Economics 19772, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
- Aiginger, Karl & Pfaffermayr, Michael, 1997. "Looking at the Cost Side of "Monopoly."," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(3), pages 245-67, September.
- Rogerson, William P, 1985. "Repeated Moral Hazard," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(1), pages 69-76, January.
- Martin Stephen, 1993. "Endogenous Firm Efficiency in a Cournot Principal-Agent Model," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 445-450, April.
- Cowling, Keith & Mueller, Dennis C, 1978. "The Social Costs of Monopoly Power," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 88(352), pages 727-48, December.
- Boone, J., 2000.
"Competitive pressure : The effects on investments in product and process innovation,"
Other publications TiSEM
88418185-7603-4c36-92fd-3, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
- Jan Boone, 2000. "Competitive Pressure: The Effects on Investments in Product and Process Innovation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 31(3), pages 549-569, Autumn.
- David Scharfstein, 1988. "Product-Market Competition and Managerial Slack," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 19(1), pages 147-155, Spring.
- A. Michael Spence, 1975. "Monopoly, Quality, and Regulation," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 6(2), pages 417-429, Autumn.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:car:carecp:08-04. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Sabrina Robineau)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.