The Theory of Imperfect Competition: A Radical Reconstruction

The Theory of Imperfect Competition: A Radical Reconstruction

The Theory of Imperfect Competition: A Radical Reconstruction

The Theory of Imperfect Competition: A Radical Reconstruction

Excerpt

The skeptical reader who is faced with yet another book on imperfect competition is entitled to expect from the author a word of explanation and very possibly an apology. I respectfully submit three justifications for venturing to presume on the reader's patience. The first can be advanced by any reasonably conscientious scholar who has pursued his calling for twenty years. I believe that I have learned a few truths and perfected a few pedagogical artifices that may interest fellow specialists. The second justification is more substantial. There exists a prima facie case that the theory of imperfect competition-and by imperfect competition is meant all forms of competition that are not "perfect" -- ought to be restated in the interests of greater rigor, clarity, and relevance to the policy problems of market regulation. Indeed one can properly question whether the rambling, eclectic treatment in the typical textbook or treatise on oligopoly, product differences, mergers, cartels, spatial competition, price discrimination, etc., should even be described as the theory of imperfect competition. Such a treatment has none of the coherence of the treatment of perfect competition and, on this score, seldom compares favorably with the original work ofJoan Robinson. There is, I submit, a strong presumption that somebody's restatement of the theory of imperfect competition will ultimately advance the cause of economics.

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