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Market Structure, Scale Economies and Industry Performance

  • Rabah Amir

    (University of Southern Denmark)

We provide an extensive and general investigation of the effects on industry performance (profits and social welfare) of exogenously changing the number of firms in a Cournot framework. This amounts to an in-depth exploration of the well-known trade-off between competition and production efficiency. We establish that under scale economies, welfare is maximized by a finite number of firms. Our results shed light on several theoretical issues and policy debates in industrial organization, including the relationship between the Herfindahl index and social welfare, free versus socially optimal entry, concentration and profitability, destructive competition and natural monopoly. Our analytical approach combines simplicity with generality.

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Paper provided by University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Centre for Industrial Economics in its series CIE Discussion Papers with number 2000-03.

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Length: 30 pages
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Handle: RePEc:kud:kuieci:2000-03
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  1. Ruffin, R J, 1971. "Cournot Oligopoly and Competitive Behaviour," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(116), pages 493-502, October.
  2. Claude D’Aspremont & Rodolphe Dos Santos Ferreira & Louis-Andre Gerard-Varet, 2000. "Contestability and the Indeterminacy of Free-Entry Equilibria," The Japanese Economic Review, Japanese Economic Association, vol. 51(1), pages 72-83, 03.
  3. Demsetz, Harold, 1973. "Industry Structure, Market Rivalry, and Public Policy," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(1), pages 1-9, April.
  4. Seade, Jesus K, 1980. "On the Effects of Entry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(2), pages 479-89, March.
  5. Rabah Amir & Val E. Lambson, 1998. "On the Effects of Entry in Cournot Markets," CIE Discussion Papers 1998-06, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Centre for Industrial Economics.
  6. Joseph Farrell and Carl Shapiro., 1988. "Horizontal Mergers: An Equilibrium Analysis," Economics Working Papers 8880, University of California at Berkeley.
  7. ROBERTS, John, . "On the existence of Cournot equilibrium without concave profit functions," CORE Discussion Papers RP -260, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  8. Okuguchi, Koji, 1973. "Quasi-Competitiveness and Cournot Oligopoly," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(1), pages 145-48, January.
  9. Javier M. López-Cuñat, 1999. "One-stage and two-stage entry Cournot equilibria," Investigaciones Economicas, Fundación SEPI, vol. 23(1), pages 115-128, January.
  10. Joseph Farrell & Carl Shapiro, 1990. "Asset Ownership and Market Structure in Oligopoly," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 21(2), pages 275-292, Summer.
  11. Susan Athey, 2002. "Monotone Comparative Statics Under Uncertainty," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(1), pages 187-223, February.
  12. Diewert, Walter E & Wales, Terence J, 1987. "Flexible Functional Forms and Global Curvature Conditions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(1), pages 43-68, January.
  13. Valerie A. Ramey & Kenneth D. West, 1997. "Inventories," NBER Working Papers 6315, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    • Ramey, Valerie A. & West, Kenneth D., 1999. "Inventories," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 13, pages 863-923 Elsevier.
  14. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1990. "Rationalizability, Learning, and Equilibrium in Games with Strategic Complementarities," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(6), pages 1255-77, November.
  15. Spence, Michael, 1983. "Contestable Markets and the Theory of Industry Structure: A Review Article," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 21(3), pages 981-90, September.
  16. Athey, Susan, 2002. "Monotone Comparative Statics Under Uncertainty," Scholarly Articles 3372263, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  17. Fauli-Oller, Ramon, 1997. "On merger profitability in a Cournot setting," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 75-79, January.
  18. N. Gregory Mankiw & Michael D. Whinston, 1986. "Free Entry and Social Inefficiency," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(1), pages 48-58, Spring.
  19. Caplin, Andrew & Nalebuff, Barry, 1991. "Aggregation and Imperfect Competition: On the Existence of Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(1), pages 25-59, January.
  20. Perry, Martin K, 1984. "Scale Economies, Imperfect Competition, and Public Policy," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 32(3), pages 313-33, March.
  21. Lambson, Val Eugene, 1987. "Is the Concentration-Profit Correlation Partly an Artifact of Lumpy Technology?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 731-33, September.
  22. Cox, James C. & Walker, Mark, 1998. "Learning to play Cournot duopoly strategies," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 141-161, August.
  23. de Meza, David, 1985. "A Stable Cournot-Nash Industry Need Not Be Quasi-competitive," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 37(2), pages 153-56, May.
  24. AMIR, Rabah, 1994. "Cournot Oligopoly and the Theory of Supermodular Games," CORE Discussion Papers 1994013, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  25. Novshek, William., 1984. "On the Existence of Cournot Equilibrium," Working Papers 517, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  26. Novshek, William, 1980. "Cournot Equilibrium with Free Entry," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(3), pages 473-86, April.
  27. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1994. "Comparing Equilibria," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 441-59, June.
  28. Brock, William A, 1983. "Contestable Markets and the Theory of Industry Structure: A Review Article," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(6), pages 1055-66, December.
  29. Suzumura, Kotaro & Kiyono, Kazuharu, 1987. "Entry Barriers and Economic Welfare," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(1), pages 157-67, January.
  30. Greg Shaffer & Stephen W. Salant, 1999. "Unequal Treatment of Identical Agents in Cournot Equilibrium," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 585-604, June.
  31. Ramey, Valerie A, 1989. "Inventories as Factors of Production and Economic Fluctuations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(3), pages 338-54, June.
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