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Monopoly Power in the Eighteenth Century British Book Trade:

Author

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  • David Fielding

    () (Department of Economics, University of Otago, New Zealand)

  • Shef Rogers

    () (Department of English and Linguistics, University of Otago, New Zealand)

Abstract

In conventional wisdom, the reform of British copyright law during the eighteenth century brought an end to the monopoly on the sale of books held by the Stationers’ Company, and the resulting competition was one of the driving forces behind the expansion of British book production during the Enlightenment. In this paper, we analyze a new dataset on eighteenth century book prices and author payments, showing that the legal reform brought about only a temporary increase in competition. The data suggest that by the end of the century, informal collusion between publishers had replaced the legal monopoly powers in place at the beginning of the century. The monopoly power of retailers is not so easily undermined.

Suggested Citation

  • David Fielding & Shef Rogers, 2014. "Monopoly Power in the Eighteenth Century British Book Trade:," Working Papers 1410, University of Otago, Department of Economics, revised Dec 2014.
  • Handle: RePEc:otg:wpaper:1410
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    File URL: http://www.otago.ac.nz/economics/otago087299.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2014
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Howard Smith, 2004. "Supermarket Choice and Supermarket Competition in Market Equilibrium," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(1), pages 235-263.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    book trade; publishing; copyright; retail monopoly;

    JEL classification:

    • D42 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Monopoly
    • L12 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Monopoly; Monopolization Strategies
    • N83 - Economic History - - Micro-Business History - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • Z11 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economics of the Arts and Literature

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