Microeconomic Policy

Microeconomic Policy

A New Perspective

Clem Tisdell and Keith Hartley

This thoroughly accessible textbook shows students how microeconomic theory can be used and applied to major issues of public policy. In this way, it will improve their understanding of both microeconomic theory and policy and also develop their ability to critically assess them. Clem Tisdell and Keith Hartley have expanded upon their previous successful work on microeconomics. As a result, this new book is considerably updated with substantial chapter revisions, as well as new chapters dealing with business management, ownership, environmental issues, public choice, defence, conflict and terrorism.

Chapter 8: Monopoly: Consequences, Regulation and Prevention

Clem Tisdell and Keith Hartley

Subjects: economics and finance, industrial economics


INTRODUCTION As was illustrated in Chapter 2, monopoly in a market can result in an economy not achieving a Paretian optimum. A Kaldor–Hicks loss occurs because in order to maximize its profit a monopolist raises the price of its product above its marginal cost of production. A monopolist fosters scarcity of the monopolized good in order to increase its profit. Consumers (buyers) are economically disadvantaged as a result. Economists have traditionally argued that economic scarcity will be greater under monopoly than if greater market competition is present. More specifically, it is often argued that monopoly will result in greater economic scarcity than if perfect competition prevails. But as will be seen in this chapter, monopoly may be superior to perfect competition in stimulating economic growth and thereby reducing scarcity. Also a monopoly may be advantageous when decreasing costs of production occur. In this case, demand for the product could be met at least cost by one supplier. Just as perfect competition is an ideal or abstract market type, so too is monopoly. The difficulties of defining monopoly and measuring monopoly power and the pitfalls of various measures are discussed in this chapter. The traditional profit-maximizing model of monopoly, assuming the absence of entry, is outlined first and the consequences of a monopolist’s behaviour for consumers’ surplus are explored. The extent of losses in consumers’ surplus as a result of monopoly compared to the alternative of perfect competition is shown in a static setting...

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