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Sunk Costs and Antitrust Barriers to Entry

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  • Schmalensee, Richard

Abstract

US antitrust policy takes as its objective consumer welfare, not total economic welfare. With that objective, Joe Bain's definition of entry barriers is more useful than George Stigler's or definitions based on economic welfare. It follows that economies of scale that involve sunk costs may create antitrust barriers to entry. A simple model shows that sunk costs without scale economies may discourage entry without creating an antitrust entry barrier.

Suggested Citation

  • Schmalensee, Richard, 2004. "Sunk Costs and Antitrust Barriers to Entry," Working papers 4457-04, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  • Handle: RePEc:mit:sloanp:5060
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Baumol, William J, 1982. "Contestable Markets: An Uprising in the Theory of Industry Structure," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(1), pages 1-15, March.
    2. Demsetz, Harold, 1982. "Barriers to Entry," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(1), pages 47-57, March.
    3. Dennis W. Carlton, 2004. "Why Barriers to Entry Are Barriers to Understanding," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 466-470, May.
    4. Avinash K. Dixit & Robert S. Pindyck, 1994. "Investment under Uncertainty," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 5474.
    5. Preston R. Fee & Hugo M. Mialon & Michael A. Williams, 2004. "What Is a Barrier to Entry?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 461-465, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Diego Restrepo-Tobón & Subal Kumbhakar & Kai Sun, 2015. "Obelix vs. Asterix: Size of US commercial banks and its regulatory challenge," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 48(2), pages 125-168, October.
    2. Kaplow, Louis & Shapiro, Carl, 2007. "Antitrust," Handbook of Law and Economics, Elsevier.
    3. repec:ces:ifodic:v:6:y:2008:i:3:p:14567232 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Dr Chiara Rosazza Bondibene, 2012. "A Study of Patent Thickets," National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) Discussion Papers 401, National Institute of Economic and Social Research.
    5. Lambie, Neil Ross, 2009. "The role of real options analysis in the design of a greenhouse gas emissions trading scheme," 2009 Conference (53rd), February 11-13, 2009, Cairns, Australia 47626, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
    6. Hoang, Daniel & Ruckes, Martin, 2014. "The effects of disclosure policy on risk management incentives and market entry," Working Paper Series in Economics 65, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Department of Economics and Business Engineering.
    7. Ana Isabel Rosado Cubero, 2014. "The behaviour of firms: an old debate," Iberian Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales, Dpto. Historia e Instituciones Económicas I., vol. 1(2), pages 21-37, January 2.
    8. Mario Mariniello, 2013. "Should Variable Cost Aid to Attract Foreign Direct Investment be Banned? A European Perspective," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 13(2), pages 273-308, June.
    9. Qazi, Usama & Jahanzaib, Mirza & Ahmad, Wasim & Hussain, Salman, 2017. "An institutional framework for the development of sustainable and competitive power market in Pakistan," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 83-95.
    10. Dennis W. Carlton, 2005. "Barriers To Entry," NBER Working Papers 11645, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Federico Ciliberto & Jonathan W. Williams, 2010. "Limited Access to Airport Facilities and Market Power in the Airline Industry," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 53(3), pages 467-495.
    12. K.P.V. O’Sullivan & Tom Kennedy, 2008. "Supervision of the Irish Banking System: A Critical Perspective," ifo DICE Report, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 6(3), pages 20-26, October.
    13. Pindyck, Robert S., 2005. "Sunk Costs and Real Options in Antitrust," Working papers 18233, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
    14. Olender-Skorek, Magdalena, 2012. "To Regulate Or Not to Regulate? – Economic Approach to Indefeasible Right of Use (IRU)," MPRA Paper 48548, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    15. Robert S. Pindyck, 2009. "Sunk Costs and Risk-Based Barriers to Entry," NBER Working Papers 14755, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Cabral, Luís, 2012. "Oligopoly Dynamics," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 278-282.
    17. Mario Mariniello, 2006. "State Aid to Attract FDI and the European Competition Policy: Should Variable Cost Aid Be Banned?," Economics Working Papers ECO2006/41, European University Institute.

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