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

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

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Nocco, Antonella & Ottaviano, Gianmarco & Salto, Matteo, 2013. "Monopolistic Competition and Optimum Product Selection: Why and how heterogeneity matters," CEPR Discussion Papers 9417, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9417
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Michael Spence, 1976. "Product Selection, Fixed Costs, and Monopolistic Competition," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 43(2), pages 217-235.
    2. Melitz, Marc J. & Redding, Stephen J., 2013. "Firm heterogeneity and aggregate welfare," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 51533, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
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    5. Melitz, Marc J. & Redding, Stephen J., 2014. "Heterogeneous Firms and Trade," Handbook of International Economics, Elsevier.
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    11. Gianmarco Ottaviano & Takatoshi Tabuchi & Jacques-FranÁois Thisse, 2002. "Agglomeration and Trade Revisited," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 43(2), pages 409-436, May.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Swati Dhingra & John Morrow, 2017. "Efficiency in Large markets with Firm Heterogeneity," CEP Discussion Papers dp1502, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    2. Antonella Nocco & Gianmarco I. P. Ottaviano & Matteo Salto, 2014. "Monopolistic Competition and Optimum Product Selection," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(5), pages 304-309, May.
    3. Catia Montagna & Antonella Nocco, 2015. "(De)Unionization, Trade Liberalization and Selection," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(1), pages 91-122, February.
    4. Weinberger, Ariel & Xuefeng, Qian & Yasar, Mahmut, 2017. "Export Tax Rebates and Resource Misallocation: Evidence from a Large Developing Countr," Globalization and Monetary Policy Institute Working Paper 302, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
    5. repec:eee:reecon:v:71:y:2017:i:4:p:663-674 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. repec:eee:reecon:v:71:y:2017:i:4:p:718-728 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    heterogeneity; monopolistic competition; product diversity; selection; welfare;

    JEL classification:

    • D4 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design
    • D6 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics
    • F1 - International Economics - - Trade
    • L0 - Industrial Organization - - General
    • L1 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance

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