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Tight oligopolies: in search of proportionate remedies

  • Marcel Canoy
  • S. Onderstal

Tight oligopolies are oligopolies the market characteristics of which facilitate the realisation of supranormal profits for a substantial period of time. We entangle the link between market structure and the possibility of welfare reducing behaviour by firms. A useful distinction can be made between ‘unilateral effects' (oligopolistic firms realise supra-normal profits without co-ordinating their strategies) and ‘co-ordinated effects' (oligopolistic firms realise supra-normal profits by co-ordinating their strategies). The study develops a ‘diagnostic approach', a tool that helps policy makers find proportionate remedies to tight oligopolies: (1) ‘prevent' a market from becoming a tight oligopoliy; (2) ‘cure' a currently tight oligopoly by changing the market structure; and (3) treat the symptoms of an established tight oligopoly. We apply this diagnostic approach to six cases of (potentially) tight oligopolies.

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Paper provided by CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis in its series CPB Document with number 29.

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Date of creation: Feb 2003
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Handle: RePEc:cpb:docmnt:29
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