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Monopolistic competition and optimum product selection: why and how heterogeneity matters

Listed author(s):
  • Antonella Nocco
  • Gianmarco I. P. Ottaviano
  • Matteo Salto

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 heterogeneous 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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File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/51541/
File Function: Open access version.
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Paper provided by London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library in its series LSE Research Online Documents on Economics with number 51541.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: 2013
Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:51541
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  1. Marc J. Melitz & Stephen J. Redding, 2013. "Firm heterogeneity and aggregate welfare," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 51533, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  2. Mark Bagnoli & Ted Bergstrom, 2005. "Log-concave probability and its applications," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 26(2), pages 445-469, 08.
  3. 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.
  4. Melitz, Marc J. & Redding, Stephen J., 2014. "Heterogeneous Firms and Trade," Handbook of International Economics, Elsevier.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Costas Arkolakis & Arnaud Costinot & Andres Rodriguez-Clare, 2012. "New Trade Models, Same Old Gains?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(1), pages 94-130, February.
  10. Marc J. Melitz & Stephen J. Redding, 2015. "New Trade Models, New Welfare Implications," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(3), pages 1105-1146, March.
  11. Dixit, Avinash K & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1977. "Monopolistic Competition and Optimum Product Diversity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(3), pages 297-308, June.
  12. Behrens, Kristian & Murata, Yasusada, 2012. "Trade, competition, and efficiency," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 1-17.
  13. Brakman, Steven & Heijdra, Ben J., 2002. "The monopolistic competition revolution in retrospect," CCSO Working Papers 200215, University of Groningen, CCSO Centre for Economic Research.
  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.
  15. Kokovin, Sergey & Thisse, Jacques-François & Zhelobodko, Evgeny, 2010. "Monopolistic Competition: Beyond the CES," CEPR Discussion Papers 7947, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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