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Does a Tougher Competition Policy Reduce or Promote Investment?

24 Pages Posted: 30 Jan 2010  

Afonso Almeida Costa

INSEAD

Pedro P. Barros

Universidade Nova de Lisboa

Date Written: January 28, 2010

Abstract

The question of how interventions from the Competition Authority (CA) affect investment is not a straightforward one: a tougher competition policy might, by reducing the ability to exert market power, either stimulate firms to invest more to counter the restrictions on their actions, or make firms invest less because of the reduced ability to have a return on investment.

This tension is illustrated using two models. In one model investment is own-cost-reducing whereas in the other investment is anti-competitive. Anti-competitive investments are defined as investments that increase competitors’ costs. In both models the optimal level of investment is reduced with a tougher competition policy. Furthermore, while in the case of an anti-competitive investment a tougher authority necessarily leads to lower prices, in the case of a cost-reducing investment the opposite may happen when the impact of the investment on cost is sufficiently high. Results for total welfare are ambiguous in the cost-reducing investment model, whereas in the anti-competitive investment model welfare unambiguously increases due to a tougher competition policy.

Keywords: Competition Policy, Investment, Welfare

JEL Classification: K20, L20, L40, L50.

Suggested Citation

Almeida Costa, Afonso and Barros, Pedro P., Does a Tougher Competition Policy Reduce or Promote Investment? (January 28, 2010). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1543962 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1543962

Afonso Almeida Costa

INSEAD ( email )

Boulevard de Constance
77305 Fontainebleau Cedex
France

Pedro Luis Pita Barros (Contact Author)

Universidade Nova de Lisboa ( email )

Campus de Campolide
Lisboa, 1099-032
Portugal
+351 21 383 3624 (Phone)
+351 21 388 6073 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://ppbarros.fe.unl.pt

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