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Monopoly rights: a barrier to riches

  • Stephen L. Parente
  • Edward C. Prescott

Our thesis is that poor countries are poor because they employee arrangements for which the equilibrium outcomes are characterized by inferior technologies being used, and being used inefficiently. In this paper, we analyze the consequences of one such arrangement. In each industry, the arrangement enables a coalition of factor suppliers to be the monopoly seller of its input services to all firms using a particular production process. We find that the inefficiencies associated with this monopoly arrangement can be large. Whereas other studies have found that inefficiencies induced by monopoly are at most a few percent of output, we find that eliminating this monopoly arrangement could well increase output by roughly a factor of 3 without any increase in inputs.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis in its series Staff Report with number 236.

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Date of creation: 1997
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Publication status: Published in American Economic Review (Vol. 89, No. 5, December 1999, pp. 1216-33)
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmsr:236
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  1. Thomas J. Holmes & James A. Schmitz, Jr., 1994. "Resistance to technology and trade between areas," Staff Report 184, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  2. Beth Allen & Raymond Deneckere & Tom Faith & Dan Kovenock, 1995. "Capacity precommitment as a barrier to entry: a Bertrand-Edgeworth approach," Staff Report 187, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  3. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why Do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output per Worker than Others?," NBER Working Papers 6564, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Krueger, Anne O, 1974. "The Political Economy of the Rent-Seeking Society," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(3), pages 291-303, June.
  5. V. V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe & Ellen R. McGrattan, 1997. "The poverty of nations: a quantitative exploration," Staff Report 204, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  6. Cowling, Keith & Mueller, Dennis C, 1978. "The Social Costs of Monopoly Power," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 88(352), pages 727-48, December.
  7. Thomas J. Holmes & James A. Schmitz, Jr., 1995. "Resistance to new technology and trade between areas," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Win, pages 2-17.
  8. Parente, Stephen L & Prescott, Edward C, 1994. "Barriers to Technology Adoption and Development," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(2), pages 298-321, April.
  9. Clark, Gregory, 1987. "Why Isn't the Whole World Developed? Lessons from the Cotton Mills," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 47(01), pages 141-173, March.
  10. John Laitner, 1982. "Monopoly and Long-Run Capital Accumulation," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 13(1), pages 143-157, Spring.
  11. Richard Schmalensee, 1978. "Entry Deterrence in the Ready-to-Eat Breakfast Cereal Industry," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 9(2), pages 305-327, Autumn.
  12. Bergson, Abram, 1973. "On Monopoly Welfare Losses," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 63(5), pages 853-70, December.
  13. Romer, Paul M, 1990. "Endogenous Technological Change," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages S71-102, October.
  14. Kevin M. Murphy & Andrei Shleifer & Robert Vishny, 1988. "Income Distribution, Market Size, and Industrialization," NBER Working Papers 2709, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Aghion, P. & Howitt, P., 1989. "A Model Of Growth Through Creative Destruction," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 8904, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
  16. 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.
  17. N. Gregory Mankiw & David Romer & David N. Weil, 1990. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 3541, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Bhagwati, Jagdish N, 1982. "Directly Unproductive, Profit-seeking (DUP) Activities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(5), pages 988-1002, October.
  19. Aghion, Philippe & Howitt, Peter, 1992. "A Model of Growth Through Creative Destruction," Scholarly Articles 12490578, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  20. Dixit, Avinash K., 1978. "A Model of Duopoly Suggesting a Theory of Entry Barriers," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 125, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  21. Spence, Michael, 1976. "Product Selection, Fixed Costs, and Monopolistic Competition," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(2), pages 217-35, June.
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