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Competition and Critical Mass

Author

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

    (METEOR)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Bos Jaap W.B. & Ling Chan Yee & Kolari James W & Yuan Jiang, 2010. "Competition and Critical Mass," Research Memorandum 063, Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR).
  • Handle: RePEc:unm:umamet:2010063
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    References listed on IDEAS

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