Oligopoly, Macroeconomic Performance, and Competition Policy

56 Pages Posted: 23 May 2018 Last revised: 20 Dec 2018

See all articles by José Azar

José Azar

University of Navarra, IESE Business School; CEPR

Xavier Vives

University of Navarra - IESE Business School; Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research)

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Date Written: August 2, 2018

Abstract

We develop a macroeconomic framework in which firms are large and have market power with respect to both products and labor. Each firm maximizes a share-weighted average of shareholder utilities, which makes the equilibrium independent of price normalization. In a one-sector economy, if returns to scale are non-increasing, then an increase in “effective” market concentration (which accounts for overlapping ownership) leads to declines in employment, real wages, and the labor share. Moreover, if the goal is to foster employment then (i) controlling common ownership and reducing concentration are complements and (ii) government jobs are a substitute for either policy. Yet when there are multiple sectors, due to an intersectoral pecuniary externality, an increase in common ownership can stimulate the economy when the elasticity of labor supply is high relative to the elasticity of substitution in product markets. We characterize for which ownership structures the monopolistically competitive limit or an oligopolistic one (where firms become small relative to the economy) are attained as the number of sectors in the economy increases. Finally, we provide a calibration to illustrate our results.

Keywords: ownership, portfolio diversification, labor share, market power, oligopsony, antitrust policy

JEL Classification: L13, L21, L41, G11, E60, D63

Suggested Citation

Azar, José and Vives, Xavier, Oligopoly, Macroeconomic Performance, and Competition Policy (August 2, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3177079 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3177079

José Azar (Contact Author)

University of Navarra, IESE Business School ( email )

Avenida Pearson 21
Barcelona, 08034
Spain

CEPR ( email )

London
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/joseazar/

Xavier Vives

University of Navarra - IESE Business School ( email )

Avenida Pearson 21
Barcelona, 08034
Spain

HOME PAGE: http://wwwapp.iese.edu/faculty/facultyDetail.asp?lang=en&prof=xv

Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF) ( email )

Ramon Trias Fargas, 25-27
Barcelona, 08005
Spain

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research) ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

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