This volume has two purposes: to provide for nonspecialists a convenient compilation of the more important articles in the field of industrial organization and public policy that have appeared since Readings in the Social Control of Industry was published in 1942, and to provide a book of readings useful in teaching graduate courses in this field.
The field of industrial organization and public policy has neither a well-defined content nor precise boundaries. This became apparent to the editors when they began discussing the articles to be included in the volume. It became more evident as they received suggestions from economists teaching graduate courses in this area. Lacking a coherent and unified content, this volume may not fit a particular graduate course as precisely as have other collections sponsored by the Association.
The lack of unity in the articles selected reflects the variation in content of the graduate courses. Some courses emphasize the organization and characteristics of industrial markets in general and of some markets in particular. Others are designed to show the relationship between industrial markets and price theory and to modify and extend that theory in the light of the facts of industrial organization. Still others are concerned primarily with public policy issues, with little attention given to an analysis of market organization or to price theory.
Reflecting somewhat this divergence of emphasis, the editors have classified the materials of this volume in five categories. They found it easier to establish the categories than to classify the articles. Nevertheless they believe that a grouping of articles by subject matter, imperfect though it may be, makes for a more orderly presentation of the materials than would a chance or arbitrary distribution. The categories selected are: The Structure of Industries and Markets; Case Studies in Industrial Structure and Behavior; Generalizations about Market Behavior; Industrial Organization and Economic Theory; and Competition, Monopoly, and Public Policy.
This outline indicates how far the current conception of industrial organization and public policy differs from that of Readings in the Social Control of Industry. The latter volume was concerned almost exclusively with policy issues. Several of the articles dealt with the governmental problem of regulating prices, a topic omitted entirely from the present volume. Differences in the subject matter of the two volumes reflect differences in the content of graduate courses twenty years ago and today. Graduate courses are now concerned largely with the characteristics of . . .