IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Industrial Seigniorage, the Other Face of Competition


  • Jordan Melmiès


This paper tries to develop an original view on industrial practices in competitive capitalist economies. In particular, we question the link between prices, competition and the quality of goods and services. We try to show that it is rational for firms to try to reduce the quality and/or the identity of goods and services while still presenting theses goods and services as the same as before, in order to reduce their prices and so to improve their relative position in the competitive struggle and in order to increase their profits. By reducing quality, we mean the practice that consists of mixing inputs at the margin with cheaper ones or with alternative products that give weight. This practice reminds us of the old Seigneurs who used to mix gold with other metals to produce more coins. That’s why we propose to label this practice 'industrial seigniorage'. The article first tries to delineate the widespread existence of this practice among French firms, and then explains the fundamental elements of (Post Keynesian) consumers' behaviour which allow for this practice to exist. We especially insist on the inability of the consumer to evaluate the quality of goods and services, and his inability to distinguish a good which have been modified at the margin. In a third part, we analyze the phenomenon of industrial seigniorage in a kaleckian model. We show the impact on sectoral profit rates and on prices, as well as the global and macroeconomic consequences on growth, distribution and employment.

Suggested Citation

  • Jordan Melmiès, 2013. "Industrial Seigniorage, the Other Face of Competition," GREDEG Working Papers 2013-25, Groupe de REcherche en Droit, Economie, Gestion (GREDEG CNRS), Université Côte d'Azur, France.
  • Handle: RePEc:gre:wpaper:2013-25

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: First version, 2013
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Marc Lavoie, 1994. "A Post Keynesian Approach to Consumer Choice," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(4), pages 539-562, July.
    2. Wood, Donna J., 1985. "The Strategic Use of Public Policy: Business Support for the 1906 Food and Drug Act," Business History Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 59(3), pages 403-432, October.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Industrial seigniorage; Input substitution; product downsizing; Post Keynesian economics; Stock-Flow consistent modelling;

    JEL classification:

    • B50 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - General
    • D11 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Theory
    • D20 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - General

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    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:gre:wpaper:2013-25. 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: (Patrice Bougette). General contact details of provider: .

    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.