IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/fip/fedmsr/468.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

New and larger costs of monopoly and tariffs

Author

Listed:
  • James A. Schmitz

Abstract

Fifty-eight years ago, Harberger (1954) estimated that the costs of monopoly, which resulted from misallocation of resources across industries, were trivial. Others showed the same was true for tariffs. This research soon led to the consensus that monopoly costs are of little significance—a consensus that persists to this day. ; This paper reports on a new literature that takes a different approach to the costs of monopoly. It examines the costs of monopoly and tariffs within industries. In particular, it examines the histories of industries in which a monopoly is destroyed (or tariffs greatly reduced) and the industry transitions quickly from monopoly to competition. If there are costs to monopoly and high tariffs within industries, we should be able to see these costs whittled away as the monopoly is destroyed. ; In contrast to the prevailing consensus, this new research has identified significant costs of monopoly. Monopoly (and high tariffs) is shown to significantly lower productivity within establishments. It also leads to misallocation within industry: resources are transferred from high to low productivity establishments. ; From these histories a common theme (or theory) emerges as to why monopoly is costly. When a monopoly is created, “rents” are created. Conflict emerges among shareholders, managers, and employees of the monopoly as they negotiate how to divide these rents. Mechanisms are set up to split the rents. These mechanisms are often means to reduce competition among members of the monopoly. Although the mechanisms divide rents, they also destroy them (by leading to low productivity and misallocation).

Suggested Citation

  • James A. Schmitz, 2012. "New and larger costs of monopoly and tariffs," Staff Report 468, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmsr:468
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.minneapolisfed.org/publications_papers/pub_display.cfm?id=4927
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: http://www.minneapolisfed.org/research/sr/sr468.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Chris Edmond & Virgiliu Midrigan & Daniel Yi Xu, 2011. "Competition , Markups, and the Gains from," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 1183, The University of Melbourne, revised 2014.
    2. Timothy Dunne & Shawn Klimek & James Schmitz, Jr., 2010. "Competition and Productivity: Evidence from the Post WWII U.S. Cement Industry," Working Papers 10-29, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    3. Klaus Abbink & Jordi Brandts & Benedikt Herrmann & Henrik Orzen, 2010. "Intergroup Conflict and Intra-group Punishment in an Experimental Contest Game," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(1), pages 420-447, March.
    4. Boldrin,Michele & Levine,David K., 2010. "Against Intellectual Monopoly," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521127264, May.
    5. Costas Arkolakis & Arnaud Costinot & Dave Donaldson & Andrés Rodríguez-Clare, 2015. "The Elusive Pro-Competitive Effects of Trade," NBER Working Papers 21370, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Holmes, Thomas J. & Hsu, Wen-Tai & Lee, Sanghoon, 2014. "Allocative efficiency, mark-ups, and the welfare gains from trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(2), pages 195-206.
    7. Boldrin,Michele & Levine,David K., 2008. "Against Intellectual Monopoly," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521879286, May.
    8. McAfee, R Preston & McMillan, John, 1992. "Bidding Rings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 579-599, June.
      • McAfee, R. Preston & McMillan, John., 1990. "Bidding Rings," Working Papers 726, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
    9. Seidmann, Daniel J, 1995. "Organizational Change and Hysteresis in British Manufacturing Industry: A Perspective from the Donovan Commission Report," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 62(248), pages 507-520, November.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Monopolies ; Competition;

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:fedmsr:468. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jannelle Ruswick). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/frbmnus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.