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Oligopoly, Macroeconomic Performance, and Competition Policy

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  • Azar, José
  • Vives, Xavier

Abstract

We develop a macroeconomic framework in which firms are large and have market power with respect to both products and labor. Each firm maximizes a share-weighted average of shareholder utilities, which makes the equilibrium independent of price normalization. In a one-sector economy, if returns to scale are non-increasing, then an increase in "effective" market concentration (which accounts for overlapping ownership) leads to declines in employment, real wages, and the labor share. Moreover, if the goal is to foster employment then (i) controlling common ownership and reducing concentration are complements and (ii) government jobs are a substitute for either policy. Yet when there are multiple sectors, due to an intersectoral pecuniary externality, an increase in common ownership can stimulate the economy when the elasticity of labor supply is high relative to the elasticity of substitution in product markets. We characterize for which ownership structures the monopolistically competitive limit or an oligopolistic one (where firms become small relative to the economy) are attained as the number of sectors in the economy increases. Finally, we provide a calibration to illustrate our results.

Suggested Citation

  • Azar, José & Vives, Xavier, 2018. "Oligopoly, Macroeconomic Performance, and Competition Policy," CEPR Discussion Papers 13000, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:13000
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    Cited by:

    1. Ufuk Akcigit & Sina T. Ates, 2019. "Ten Facts on Declining Business Dynamism and Lessons from Endogenous Growth Theory," NBER Working Papers 25755, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Ufuk Akcigit & Sina T. Ates, 2019. "Ten Facts on Declining Business Dynamism and Lessons from Endogenous Growth Theory," CESifo Working Paper Series 7849, CESifo.
    3. Oz Shy & Rune Stenbacka, 2020. "Common ownership, institutional investors, and welfare," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(3), pages 706-723, July.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Antitrust Policy; Labor Share; market power; oligopsony; ownership; portfolio diversification;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • E60 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - General
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • L21 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Business Objectives of the Firm
    • L41 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - Monopolization; Horizontal Anticompetitive Practices

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