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The Impact of Competition on Prices with Numerous Firms

  • Xavier Gabaix

    ()

    (NYU Stern, CEPR and NBER)

  • David Laibson

    ()

    (Harvard University and NBER)

  • Deyuan Li

    ()

    (Fudan University)

  • Hongyi Li

    ()

    (University of New South Wales)

  • Sidney Resnick

    ()

    (Cornell University)

  • Casper G. de Vries

    ()

    (Economic Science Institute, Chapman University, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Tinbergen Institute)

We use extreme value theory (EVT) to develop insights about price theory. Our analysis reveals "detail-independent" equilibrium properties that characterize a large family of models. We derive a formula relating equilibrium prices to the level of competition. When the number of firms is large, markups and prices are pinned down by the tail properties of the noise distribution and prices are independent of many other institutional details. The elasticity of the markup with respect to the number of firms is shown to be the EVT tail exponent of the distribution for preference shocks and in most leading cases is relatively insensitive to the number of firms. For example, for the Gaussian case asymptotic markups are proportional to one over the square root of log n, implying a zero asymptotic elasticity of the markup with respect to the number of firms. Thus competition only exerts weak pressure on prices. We also study applications of the model, including endogenizing the level of noise.

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File URL: http://www.chapman.edu/research-and-institutions/economic-science-institute/_files/WorkingPapers/de-vries-the-timpact-of-competition.pdf
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Paper provided by Chapman University, Economic Science Institute in its series Working Papers with number 13-07.

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Length: 74 pages
Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:chu:wpaper:13-07
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  9. Jordi Galí & Frank Smets & Rafael Wouters, 2012. "Slow Recoveries: A Structural Interpretation," Working Papers 630, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
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  13. Rustam Ibragimov & Johan Walden, 2010. "Optimal Bundling Strategies Under Heavy-Tailed Valuations," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 56(11), pages 1963-1976, November.
  14. Dennis Jansen & Casper de Vries, 1988. "On the frequency of large stock returns: putting booms and busts into perspective," Working Papers 1989-006, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  15. Raphael Auer & Thomas Chaney, 2009. "Exchange rate pass-through in a competitive model of pricing-to-market," Globalization and Monetary Policy Institute Working Paper 23, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
  16. Garber Alan M & Jones Charles I. & Romer Paul, 2006. "Insurance and Incentives for Medical Innovation," Forum for Health Economics & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 9(2), pages 1-27, March.
  17. Xavier Gabaix & David Laibson, 2006. "Shrouded Attributes, Consumer Myopia, and Information Suppression in Competitive Markets," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(2), pages 505-540, May.
  18. Daron Acemoglu & Victor Chernozhukov & Muhamet Yildiz, 2009. "Fragility of Asymptotic Agreement under Bayesian Learning," Levine's Working Paper Archive 814577000000000139, David K. Levine.
  19. Ali Hortaç Su & Chad Syverson, 2004. "Product Differentiation, Search Costs, And Competition in the Mutual Fund Industry: A Case Study of S&P 500 Index Funds," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(2), pages 403-456, May.
  20. Jeremy Bulow & Paul Klemperer, 2012. "Regulated Prices, Rent-Seeking, and Consumer Surplus," Economics Papers 2012-W03, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
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  22. Hart, Oliver D, 1985. "Monopolistic Competition in the Spirit of Chamberlin: Special Results," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 95(380), pages 889-908, December.
  23. Xavier Gabaix, 1999. "Zipf'S Law For Cities: An Explanation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(3), pages 739-767, August.
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