Free entry and social efficiency under vertical oligopoly

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Abstract

We analyze a successive vertical oligopoly model that incorporates vertical relationships between industries and demonstrate that free entry in an industry that produces a homogeneous product can lead to a socially insufficient number of firms. This is in contrast with the proevious findings that, under Cournot oligopoloy with fixed set-up costs, level of entry in the free-entry equilibrium is socially excessive. It has often been argued that this result can provide a justification for apparently anticompetitive entry regulations. Our finding yields an important policy implication that such a justification is not necessarily valid when vertical relationships ar taken into account.

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