Limited Competition Theorists

Grounds of Difference among Limited-Competition Theorists

A number of questions are suggested by an examination of the differences among those who have proposed to base economic theory upon limited competition. Probably there would be no clear-cut agreement. These questions are what Chamberlin might ask Robinson, or Robinson ask Stackelberg or Zeuthen. A few of them are as follows:

What IS "competition"? The question is, not what competi­tion isn't, or what "pure" competition is, but what is competi­tion, as such? Can it be defined entirely in terms of price?

Shall we recognize two kinds of limitation on competition, one consisting in ineradicable natural differences among the competitors; the other in more or less remediable "imperfec­tions" in their performance? If so, why not recognize many other limitations, including government restrictions?

If, under duopoly or oligopoly, the price tends to lie some­where between the monopoly price and the competitive price, which is more helpful, to start from demand and supply as they would be under competition or as they would be under monopoly?

Is freedom of entry a criterion of competition? Is a large number of competitors? Which is the more important?
How can producers compete without selling? How can they sell without selling costs? To what extent does a definition of competition that eliminates selling costs, eliminate competition itself? .
In what does the homogeneity of economic goods lie? Does "differentiation" of products having the same basic kind of utility, invalidate the assumption of competition?
Is a "product" the criterion of the single firm, or of an "industry"?

Can there be one demand curve for an industry, say auto­mobiles? Can the individual demand curves for various makes, say automobiles, be combined into a single demand curve for the industry?

After all the discussion, is it or is it not true that diminishing unit costs alone do not necessarily result in either monopolistic or imperfect competition?

What conclusion can be reached, or what demonstration can be made, by means of a marginal revenue curve that cannot be made (and has not been made) by means of the average revenue curve from which the marginal revenue curve is derived?

Is the "demand curve" one that the "firm" expects or imagines mil be, or is it one that actually exists, and is projected into the future realization? Does it assume rates of discount or probable average returns?
Are the profits of enterprise under monopolistic or imperfect competition caused by differences in ability or location (monop­olistic impurities), or by exploitation and discrimination (com­petitive imperfections)?
Does the theory of monopolistic or imperfect competition lead to (1) the regulation of industry according to the degree of monopoly differentials, or to (2) the control of the economy to eliminate imperfections of competition (exploitation, etc.)?