Competition in Large Markets
NBER Working Paper No. 11847
This paper develops a simple and robust implication of free entry followed by competition without substantial strategic interactions: Increasing the number of consumers leaves the distributions of producers' prices and other choices unchanged. In many models featuring non-trivial strategic considerations, producers' prices fall as their numbers increase. Hence, examining the relationship between market size and producers' actions provides a nonparametric tool for empirically discriminating between these distinct approaches to competition. To illustrate its application, I examine observations of restaurants' seating capacities, exit decisions, and prices from 224 U.S. cities. Given factor prices and demographic variables, increasing a city's size increases restaurants' capacities, decreases their exit rate, and decreases their prices. These results suggest that strategic considerations lie at the heart of restaurant pricing and turnover.
This paper was revised on July 18, 2006