By Dominich Armentano
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Extra info for Antitrust And Monopoly: Anatomy of a Policy Failure
The fundamen tal error here is to assume that long-run equilibria actually exist, or that the movement toward equilibrium is smooth and continuous after some initial MARKET STRUCTURE AND INDUSTRIAL ORGANIZATION 35 exogenous shock to the system. Long-run equilibria cannot actually exist, and changes in tastes, costs, risk, information, and uncertainty are not short-run phenomena whose effects on profitability somehow disappear in the static long-run. Change and entrepreneurial adjustment to change are continuous in the market process and are as much in evidence in the long view as in the short.
A ggregate concentration refers to the percentage of assets (sales) held by the largest manufacturing firms in the economy, without refer ence to specific industries or markets. All three concentration indicators have been used by structuralists to imply that certain degrees of market control, or changes in these percentages over time, infer something significant concern ing monopoly power, competition, and social welfare. 48 Once the arbitrary optimality of the atomistic model is admitted, however, concentration or changes in concentration reveal little concerning business competition or consumer welfare.
Hence the high costs of differentiation (a “phony” product differentiation for most critics) block entry into the business and tend to perpetuate the market posi tions of the leading companies. Even worse, once competition is limited, the auto companies routinely pass along the higher costs in the form of higher prices which contribute to a further reduction in consumer and social welfare. It can be argued that the critics have gotten the matter completely and precisely backwards. It is only because consumers find resources satisfactorily allocated that potential competitors find entry difficult or impossible.
Antitrust And Monopoly: Anatomy of a Policy Failure by Dominich Armentano