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When cost improvements harm consumers

Author

Listed:
  • Nicolas Gruyer

    () (LEEA (air transport economics laboratory), ENAC)

  • Philippe Bontems

    (University of Toulouse (INRA, IDEI))

Abstract

This paper demonstrates that in a vertical structure, improving cost efficiency might sometimes be detrimental to consumers, by increasing market price. This is in stark contrast to the standard result in oligopoly theory which suggests that the surplus generated by any efficiency gain in production is shared between firms and final consumers, depending on the degree of market power. These results are applied in contexts such as international trade, diffusion of knowledge and techniques, and government intervention through income support programs.

Suggested Citation

  • Nicolas Gruyer & Philippe Bontems, 2006. "When cost improvements harm consumers," Economics Working Papers 03, LEEA (air transport economics laboratory), ENAC (french national civil aviation school).
  • Handle: RePEc:enc:abcdef:cost3
    Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 21.
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    File URL: http://gruyern.free.fr/wpaper/BontemsGruyer.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Sexton, Richard J. & Lavoie, Nathalie, 2001. "Food processing and distribution: An industrial organization approach," Handbook of Agricultural Economics,in: B. L. Gardner & G. C. Rausser (ed.), Handbook of Agricultural Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 15, pages 863-932 Elsevier.
    2. Barros, Pedro Pita & Brito, Duarte & de Lucena, Diogo, 2006. "Mergers in the food retailing sector: An empirical investigation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 447-468, February.
    3. Johan Stennek & Frank Verboven, 2006. "Merger Control and Enterprise Competitiveness: Empirical Analysis and Policy Recommendations," Chapters,in: European Merger Control, chapter 4 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    4. Stephen F. Hamilton & David Sunding, 1998. "Returns to Public Investments in Agriculture with Imperfect Downstream Competition," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 80(4), pages 830-838.
    5. Michael A. Salinger, 1988. "Vertical Mergers and Market Foreclosure," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 103(2), pages 345-356.
    6. Stephen F. Hamilton & David L. Sunding, 1997. "The Effect of Farm Supply Shifts on Concentration and Market Power in the Food Processing Sector," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 79(2), pages 524-531.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    oligopsonists; retail; vertical structure; cost pass-through.;

    JEL classification:

    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • L12 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Monopoly; Monopolization Strategies

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