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Competition and Critical Mass

  • Bos Jaap W.B.
  • Ling Chan Yee
  • Kolari James W
  • Yuan Jiang

    (METEOR)

Empirical literature and related legal practice using concentration as a proxy for competition measurement are prone to a fallacy of division, as concentration measures are appropriate for perfect competition and perfect collusion but not intermediate levels of competition. Extending the classic Cournot-type competition model of Cowling and Waterson (1976) and Cowling (1976) used to derive the Hirschman-Herfindahl Index (HHI) of market concentration, we propose an adaptation of this model that allows collusive rents for all, none, or some of the firms in a market. Application of our model and new critical mass measures to data for U.S. commercial banks in the period 1984-2004 confirms that concentration measures are unreliable competition metrics. Our results lead us to conclude that critical mass is a promising new market power metric for competition analyses. Policy and future research implications are briefly discussed.

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Paper provided by Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR) in its series Research Memorandum with number 063.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:unm:umamet:2010063
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  1. Berger, Allen N & Hannan, Timothy H, 1989. "The Price-Concentration Relationship in Banking," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 71(2), pages 291-99, May.
  2. Caballero, Ricardo J. & Engel, Eduardo M. R. A., 1993. "Microeconomic rigidities and aggregate price dynamics," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 697-711, May.
  3. Goldberg, Lawrence G. & Rai, Anoop, 1996. "The structure-performance relationship for European banking," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 745-771, May.
  4. Howitt, Peter & Griffith, Rachel & Aghion, Philippe & Blundell, Richard & Bloom, Nick, 2005. "Competition and Innovation: An Inverted-U Relationship," Scholarly Articles 4481507, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  5. J.W.B. Bos & J.W. Kolari, 2003. "Large Bank Efficiency in Europe and the United States: Are There Economic Motivations for Geographic Expansion in Financial Services?," Research Series Supervision (discontinued) 61, Netherlands Central Bank, Directorate Supervision.
  6. Aghion, Philippe, et al, 2001. "Competition, Imitation and Growth with Step-by-Step Innovation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(3), pages 467-92, July.
  7. Berger, Allen N, 1995. "The Profit-Structure Relationship in Banking--Tests of Market-Power and Efficient-Structure Hypotheses," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 27(2), pages 404-31, May.
  8. Adelman, M A, 1969. "Comment on the "H" Concentration Measure as a Numbers-Equivalent," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 51(1), pages 99-101, February.
  9. Berger, Allen N, et al, 2004. "Bank Concentration and Competition: An Evolution in the Making," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 36(3), pages 433-51, June.
  10. R. Alton Gilbert & Adam M. Zaretsky, 2003. "Banking antitrust: are the assumptions still valid?," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Nov, pages 29-52.
  11. Goppelsroeder, M. & Schinkel, M.P. & Tuinstra, J., 2006. "Quantifying the Scope for Efficiency Defense in Merger Control: The Werden-Froeb-Index," CeNDEF Working Papers 06-09, Universiteit van Amsterdam, Center for Nonlinear Dynamics in Economics and Finance.
  12. Boone, J., 2004. "A New Way to Measure Competition," Discussion Paper 2004-31, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  13. repec:use:tkiwps:0916 is not listed on IDEAS
  14. Cowling, Keith, 1976. "On the theoretical specification of industrial structure-performance relationships," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 1-14, June.
  15. Evans, William N & Kessides, Ioannis N, 1993. "Localized Market Power in the U.S. Airline Industry," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 75(1), pages 66-75, February.
  16. Allen N. Berger & Asli Demirgüç-Kunt & Ross Levine & Joseph G. Haubrich, 2004. "Introduction: Bank concentration and competition: an evolution in the making," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, pages 433-451.
  17. Cowling, Keith & Waterson, Michael, 1976. "Price-Cost Margins and Market Structure," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 43(171), pages 267-74, August.
  18. Barbara Casu & Claudia Girardone, 2006. "Bank Competition, Concentration And Efficiency In The Single European Market," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 74(4), pages 441-468, 07.
  19. Gilbert, R Alton, 1984. "Bank Market Structure and Competition: A Survey," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 16(4), pages 617-44, November.
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