Endogenous normative indices for the industry concentration

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2001-01
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This paper presents new indices for measuring the industry concentration. The indices proposed (C n ) are of a normative type because they embody (endogenous) weights matching the market shares of the individual firms to their Marshallian welfare shares. These indices belong to an enlarged class of the Performance Gradient Indexes introduced by Dansby&Willig(I979). The definition of Cn for the consumers allows a new interpretation for the Hirschman-Herfindahl index (H), which can be viewed as a normative index according to particular values of the demand parameters. For homogeneous product industries, Cn equates H for every market distribution if (and only if) the market demand is linear. Whenever the inverse demand curve is convex (concave), H underestimates( overestimates) the industry concentration measured by the normative indexo For these industries, H overestimates (underestimates) the concentration changes caused by market transfers among small firms if the inverse demand curve is convex(concave) and underestimates( overestimates) it when such tranfers benefit a large firm, according to the convexity (or the concavity) of the demand curve. For heterogeneous product industries, an explicit normative index is obtained with a market demand derived from a quasi-linear utilility function. Under symmetric preferences among the goods, the index Cn is always greater than or equal the H-index. Under asymmetric assumptions, discrepancies between the firms' market distribution and the differentiationj substitution distributions among the goods, increase the concentration but make room for some horizontal mergers do reduce it. In particular, a mean preserving spread of the differentiation(substitution) increases(decreases) the concentration only if the smaller firms' goods become more(less) differentiated(substitute) w.r.t. the other goods. One important consequence of these results is that the consumers are benefitted when the smaller firms are producing weak substitute goods, and the larger firms produce strong substitute goods or face demand curves weakly sensitive to their own prices.


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