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Reductions in Real versus Tariff Barriers: The Effects on Industry Concentration

Schröder, Philipp J.H. and Jørgensen, Jan G. (2001): Reductions in Real versus Tariff Barriers: The Effects on Industry Concentration. Published in: Journal of Industry Competition and Trade , Vol. 3, No. 4 (2003): pp. 251-268.

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Abstract

Economic integration in Europe has had ambiguous effects on industry concentration. The literature has proposed various explanations of the empirical findings. The present paper provides an additional theoretical argument. We show that in a world of monopolistic competition, integration in it self (modelled as a reduction of trade barriers) generates opposing effects on industry concentration, depending on wether the barrier is a real (frictional) or a tariff cost. In particular, the Herfindahl index of industry concentration falls for a reduction in real costs, but rises for a reduction in tariff costs. The reason is that real barriers burn up resources, such that industry profitability is reduced, reducing entry, and resulting in fewer firms and higher concentration. Under a tariff barrier, the redistributed tariff revenue stabilises industry profitability, resulting in more firms and lower concentration.

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