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Monopolistic Competition and Optimum Product Selection: Why and how heterogeneity matters

  • Nocco, Antonella
  • Ottaviano, Gianmarco
  • Salto, Matteo

After some decades of relative oblivion, the interest in the optimality properties of monopolistic competition has recently re-emerged due to the availability of an appropriate and parsimonious framework to deal with firm heterogeneity. Within this framework we show that non-separable utility, variable demand elasticity and endogenous firm heterogeneity cause the market equilibrium to err in many ways, concerning the number of products, the size and the choice of producers, the overall size of the monopolistically competitive sector. More crucially with respect to the existing literature, we also show that the extent of the errors depends on the degree of firm heterogeneity. In particular, the inefficiency of the market equilibrium seems to be largest when selection among heterogenous firms is needed most, that is, when there are relatively many firms with low productivity and relatively few firms with high productivity.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 9417.

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Date of creation: Apr 2013
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9417
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  1. Marc J. Melitz & Stephen J. Redding, 2013. "Firm Heterogeneity and Aggregate Welfare," Sciences Po publications 2013-11, Sciences Po.
  2. Marc J. Melitz & Stephen J. Redding, 2012. "Heterogeneous firms and trade," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 48928, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  3. Mark Bagnoli & Ted Bergstrom, 2005. "Log-concave probability and its applications," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 26(2), pages 445-469, 08.
  4. Costas Arkolakis & Arnaud Costinot & Andrés Rodríguez-Clare, 2009. "New Trade Models, Same Old Gains?," NBER Working Papers 15628, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Kokovin, Sergey & Thisse, Jacques-François & Zhelobodko, Evgeny, 2010. "Monopolistic Competition: Beyond the CES," CEPR Discussion Papers 7947, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Ottaviano, Gianmarco & Thisse, Jacques-François, 1998. "Agglomeration and Trade Revisited," CEPR Discussion Papers 1903, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Marc J. Melitz & Gianmarco I. P. Ottaviano, 2008. "Market Size, Trade, and Productivity," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(1), pages 295-316.
  8. Behrens, Kristian & Murata, Yasusada, 2012. "Trade, competition, and efficiency," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 1-17.
  9. Marc J. Melitz, 2003. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(6), pages 1695-1725, November.
  10. Dixit, Avinash K & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1975. "Monopolistic Competition and Optimum Product Diversity," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 64, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  11. Marc J. Melitz & Stephen J. Redding, 2013. "New Trade Models, New Welfare Implications," NBER Working Papers 18919, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Behrens, Kristian & Murata, Yasusada, 2007. "General equilibrium models of monopolistic competition: A new approach," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 136(1), pages 776-787, September.
  13. Marc J. Melitz & Gianmarco I. P. Ottaviano, 2008. "Market Size, Trade, and Productivity (DOI:10.111/j.1467-937x.2007.00463.x)," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(3), pages 985-985.
  14. Carole Maignan & Gianmarco Ottaviano & Dino Pinelli & Francesco Rullani, 2003. "Bio-Ecological Diversity vs. Socio-Economic Diversity: A Comparison of Existing Measures," Working Papers 2003.13, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
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