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Contesting Contestability and the Efficiency of Wages


  • Andrew E. Burke

    (University of St. Andrews)

  • Theodore To

    (University of St. Andrews)


The fundamental contribution of the paper is to contest the view that greater market contestability has non-negative effects on market performance. In a model where employees pose a threat of potential entry, we demonstrate that a reduction in barriers to entry causes no fall in industry price when incumbents are able to buy-off potential entry through higher wages. Over the longer term the analysis illustrates that increased market contestability can cause equilibrium industry price to be higher than that which would have occurred if entry barriers had persisted at their initial higher level. Correspondingly, the model indicates that investment in endogenous barriers to entry and wage ceilings on executive salaries may enhance market performance.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew E. Burke & Theodore To, 1997. "Contesting Contestability and the Efficiency of Wages," Industrial Organization 9706005, EconWPA.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpio:9706005
    Note: Type of Document - LaTeX DVI file; prepared on PC-TEX; to print on any; pages: 17 ; figures: none

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Holtz-Eakin, Douglas & Joulfaian, David & Rosen, Harvey S, 1994. "Sticking It Out: Entrepreneurial Survival and Liquidity Constraints," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(1), pages 53-75, February.
    2. 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.
    3. Dasgupta, Partha & Stiglitz, Joseph, 1980. "Industrial Structure and the Nature of Innovative Activity," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 90(358), pages 266-293, June.
    4. Baumol, William J & Willig, Robert D, 1986. "Contestability: Developments since the Book," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(0), pages 9-36, Suppl. No.
    5. Conyon, Martin J., 1994. "Labour's share, market structure and trade unionism," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 117-131, March.
    6. Black, Jane & de Meza, David & Jeffreys, David, 1996. "House Price, the Supply of Collateral and the Enterprise Economy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(434), pages 60-75, January.
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    More about this item


    barriers to entry; market contestability; antitrust regulation; executive salaries;

    JEL classification:

    • L12 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Monopoly; Monopolization Strategies
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • K21 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - Antitrust Law
    • L41 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - Monopolization; Horizontal Anticompetitive Practices
    • L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation

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