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Why Are Firms Sometimes Unwilling to Reduce Costs?

This paper establishes three new results for multiproduct oligopolies: 1) it presents the first explicit expression of Nash equilibria for asymmetric multiproduct oligopolies; 2) it shows that reducing a multiproduct firms cost in Bertrand oligopolies will reduce its profits if the cost-reducing unit is sufficiently small; and 3) it demonstrates that a multiproduct firm has no incentive to eliminate a product whose sales are zero. Because a single-product firm whose sales are zero is indifferent between exiting and staying, and its cost reductions always increase its profits, our results are unique to the multiproduct firm, and they suggest that extending oligopoly studies from a single product to multi-products could be as significant as the extension of calculus from a single variable to multi-variables.

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File URL: https://economics.missouri.edu/working-papers/2007/wp0703_wang.pdf
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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Missouri in its series Working Papers with number 0703.

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Length: 37 pgs.
Date of creation: 15 Jan 2007
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Journal of Economics 2010
Handle: RePEc:umc:wpaper:0703
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  1. Luis M. B. Cabral, 2001. "Multiproduct Oligopoly and Bertrand Supertraps," Working Papers 01-04, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
  2. Lapan, Harvey E. & Hennessy, David A., 2006. "A note on cost arrangement and market performance in a multi-product Cournot oligopoly," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 583-591, May.
  3. Vives, Xavier, 2005. "Games with strategic complementarities: New applications to industrial organization," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 23(7-8), pages 625-637, September.
  4. William Novshek, 1985. "On the Existence of Cournot Equilibrium," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 52(1), pages 85-98.
  5. Kao, Tina & Menezes, Flavio, 2009. "Endogenous mergers under multi-market competition," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(12), pages 817-829, December.
  6. S. Baranzoni & P. Bianchi & L. Lambertini, 2000. "Multiproduct Firms, Product Differentiation, and Market Structure," Working Papers 368, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
  7. Luís M. B. Cabral & Miguel Villas-Boas, 2005. "Bertrand Supertraps," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 51(4), pages 599-613, April.
  8. Justin P. Johnson & David P. Myatt, 2003. "Multiproduct Quality Competition: Fighting Brands and Product Line Pruning," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 748-774, June.
  9. Zhang, Anming & Zhang, Yimin, 1996. "Stability of a Cournot-Nash equilibrium: The multiproduct case," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 441-462.
  10. Donald Smythe & Jingang Zhao, 2006. "The Complete Welfare Effects of Cost Reductions in a Cournot Oligopoly," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 87(2), pages 181-193, 03.
  11. Lapan, Harvey E. & Hennessy, David A., 2006. "Note on Cost Arrangement and Market Performance in a Multi-Product Cournot Oligopoly, A," Staff General Research Papers Archive 12720, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  12. Volker Grossmann, 2003. "Firm Size and Diversification: Asymmetric Multiproduct Firms under Cournot Competition," CESifo Working Paper Series 1047, CESifo Group Munich.
  13. Dixit, Avinash K, 1986. "Comparative Statics for Oligopoly," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 27(1), pages 107-22, February.
  14. Shapiro, Carl, 1989. "Theories of oligopoly behavior," Handbook of Industrial Organization, in: R. Schmalensee & R. Willig (ed.), Handbook of Industrial Organization, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 6, pages 329-414 Elsevier.
  15. Wang, X. Henry & Zhao, Jingang, 2007. "Welfare reductions from small cost reductions in differentiated oligopoly," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 173-185, February.
  16. Harrington, Joseph E, Jr, 1987. "Collusion in Multiproduct Oligopoly Games under a Finite Horizon," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 28(1), pages 1-14, February.
  17. Pham Do, K.H. & Folmer, H., 2003. "International Fisheries Agreements : The Feasibility and Impacts of Partial Cooperation," Discussion Paper 2003-52, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  18. Goldberg, Pinelopi Koujianou, 1995. "Product Differentiation and Oligopoly in International Markets: The Case of the U.S. Automobile Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(4), pages 891-951, July.
  19. Fevrier, Philippe & Linnemer, Laurent, 2004. "Idiosyncratic shocks in an asymmetric Cournot oligopoly," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 22(6), pages 835-848, June.
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