Formal and Real Power in General Equilibrium

37 Pages Posted: 13 Mar 2015

See all articles by Hans H. Haller

Hans H. Haller

Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University - Department of Economics

Hans Gersbach

ETH Zurich - CER-ETH -Center of Economic Reseaarch; IZA Institute of Labor Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Date Written: March 12, 2015

Abstract

We integrate individual power in groups into general equilibrium models with endogenous group formation. We distinguish between formal power (the say in group decisions) and real power (utility gain from being in groups). Their values will be determined as part of the equilibrium. We find that higher formal power does not necessarily translate into higher equilibrium utility or higher real power. One reason is that induced price changes may offset the group member’s increased influence. A second reason is that the group may dissolve when a group member gains too much influence, because other members can exercise the option to leave. We also show that maximal real power can be compatible with Pareto efficiency. We further identify circumstances when changes of formal power in one group do not impact on other groups. Finally, we establish existence of competitive equilibria, including equilibria where some individual enjoys real power.

Keywords: Group formation, competitive markets, power, exit

JEL Classification: D41, D50, D60

Suggested Citation

Haller, Hans H. and Gersbach, Hans, Formal and Real Power in General Equilibrium (March 12, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2577287 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2577287

Hans H. Haller

Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University - Department of Economics ( email )

3021 Pamplin Hall
Blacksburg, VA 24061
United States
540-231-7591 (Phone)
540-231-5097 (Fax)

Hans Gersbach (Contact Author)

ETH Zurich - CER-ETH -Center of Economic Reseaarch ( email )

Zürichbergstrasse 18
Zurich, 8092
Switzerland
+41 44 632 82 80 (Phone)
+41 44 632 18 30 (Fax)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

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