Antitrust And Monopoly: Anatomy of a Policy Failure by Dominich Armentano

Antitrust And Monopoly: Anatomy of a Policy Failure by Dominich Armentano

By Dominich Armentano

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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. Since other things are never constant in an actual situation, there is never any guar­ antee that one is, in fact, testing cross-elasticity at all. Economic principles such as elasticity are unlikely to be verified by empirical experiments that are, of necessity, a mosaic of complex and nonrepeatable historical events.

Firms under monopolistic or imperfect competition still attempt to maxi­ mize their profit by selling an output where marginal revenue equals marginal cost. But if products are not perfect substitutes, the demand function each firm faces is downward sloping, and the price that each firm charges will 20 COM PETITION THEORY AND TH E MARKET ECONOM Y Quantity Figure 4 A firm with “ monopoly power” produces less (Q M ) and charges more (PM ) than a “ competitive” firm. tend to be greater than both marginal revenue and marginal cost (see Figure 4).

O PM is the monopoly price and is higher than the competitive price for reasons ex­ plained previously. It should be clear that if governmental antitrust regulation could prevent or reduce this monopoly power, it could, consistent with this perspective, improve economic performance and allocative efficiency by lowering prices and increasing output. 13 The basic economic model outlined above can be broadened to highlight the economic effects, and regulatory implications, of business collusion, merger, deconcentration, and increased business efficiency.

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