Non-Atomic Economies and the Boundaries of Perfect Competition
The distinction between nonatomicity and thick markets as the source of perfect competition is examined. The authors construct a model of an imperfectly competitive economy with a nonatomic continuum of traders and a continuum of differentiated commodities for which Walrasian equilibria exist. The failure of perfect competition is identified in two ways: individuals can affect prices and the core is strictly larger than the set of Walrasian allocations. By contrast, it is shown that, when markets are physically or economically thick (or both), then individuals cannot typically affect prices and the core always coincides with the set of Walrasian allocations. Copyright 1994 by The Econometric Society.
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