By Dominich Armentano
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Extra resources for Antitrust And Monopoly: Anatomy of a Policy Failure
For instance, if products are differentiated, individual sellers discover that the demand curve for their own product is downward sloping and not hori zontal, and that they will not lose all of their customers with a price slightly higher than a competitor’s. Such sellers are said to have price control or mo nopoly power relative to competitive sellers of homogeneous products. And it is this price and product control, and the subsequent business rivalry, that so typify monopolistically competitive or imperfectly competitive market situa tions.
Indeed, the relevant market itself might be defined in terms of cross-elasticity coefficients. There are serious methodological difficulties in attempting to measure competition in this manner, or to infer anything meaningful concerning an 36 COM PETITION THEORY AND THE MARKET ECONOM Y efficient allocation of resources. The most serious difficulty is that any cross elasticity test over time would inevitably confuse a change in sales due to a price change, and a change in sales due to any and all other factors.
It is also a serious error to continue to asso ciate the simple price-and-profit behavior of atomistic firms (in equilibrium), 28 COM PETITION THEORY AND TH E MARKET ECONOM Y with competitive business conduct and performance. For example, it is now arbitrary to associate zero economic profits with efficient resource allocation or alternatively, to associate the total absence of a pricing policy with compet itive behavior; price takers are now no more competitive than price makers. Indeed, radically different price-and-profit strategies are compatible and de sirable if competition is defined in dynamic terms.
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