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  • 5138jd93w?file=thumbnail
    Creator: Schmitz, James Andrew
    Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department)
    Number: 468
    Abstract:

    Fifty-eight years ago, Harberger (1954) estimated that the costs of monopoly, which resulted from misallocation of resources across industries, were trivial. Others showed the same was true for tariffs. This research soon led to the consensus that monopoly costs are of little significance—a consensus that persists to this day.

    This paper reports on a new literature that takes a different approach to the costs of monopoly. It examines the costs of monopoly and tariffs within industries. In particular, it examines the histories of industries in which a monopoly is destroyed (or tariffs greatly reduced) and the industry transitions quickly from monopoly to competition. If there are costs to monopoly and high tariffs within industries, we should be able to see these costs whittled away as the monopoly is destroyed.

    In contrast to the prevailing consensus, this new research has identified significant costs of monopoly. Monopoly (and high tariffs) is shown to significantly lower productivity within establishments. It also leads to misallocation within industry: resources are transferred from high to low productivity establishments.

    From these histories a common theme (or theory) emerges as to why monopoly is costly. When a monopoly is created, “rents” are created. Conflict emerges among shareholders, managers, and employees of the monopoly as they negotiate how to divide these rents. Mechanisms are set up to split the rents. These mechanisms are often means to reduce competition among members of the monopoly. Although the mechanisms divide rents, they also destroy them (by leading to low productivity and misallocation).

    Keyword: X-inefficiency, Competition, Monopoly, and Rent seeking
    Subject (JEL): F10 - Trade: General, D20 - Production and Organizations: General, and L00 - Industrial Organization: General
  • Sx61dm42q?file=thumbnail
    Creator: Cole, Harold Linh, 1957-, Mailath, George Joseph, and Postlewaite, A.
    Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department)
    Number: 253
    Abstract:

    This paper addresses the question of whether agents will invest efficiently in attributes that will increase their productivity in subsequent matches with other individuals. We present a two-sided matching model in which buyers and sellers make investment decisions prior to a matching stage. Once matched, the buyer and seller bargain over the transfer price. In contrast to most matching models, preferences over possible matches are affected by decisions made before the matching process. We show that if bargaining respects the existence of outside options (in the sense that the resulting allocation is in the core of the assignment game), then efficient decisions can always be sustained in equilibrium. However, there may also be inefficient equilibria. Our analysis identifies a potential source of inefficiency not present in most matching models.

    Keyword: Hold-up problems, Matching models, Investment, and Contracting
    Subject (JEL): C70 - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory: General, D52 - Incomplete Markets, and D20 - Production and Organizations: General