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Defining a market    is often controversial. For example, Microsoft in the early 2000s had a dominant share of the software for computer operating systems. However, in the total market for all computer software and services, including everything from games to scientific programs, the Microsoft share was only about 14% in 2014. A narrowly defined market will tend to make concentration appear higher, while a broadly defined market will tend to make it appear smaller.

There are two especially important shifts affecting how markets are defined in recent decades: one centers on technology and the other centers on globalization    . In addition, these two shifts are interconnected. With the vast improvement in communications technologies, including the development of the Internet, a consumer can order books or pet supplies from all over the country or the world. As a result, the degree of competition many local retail businesses face has increased. The same effect may operate even more strongly in markets for business supplies, where so-called “business-to-business” websites can allow buyers and suppliers from anywhere in the world to find each other.

Globalization has changed the boundaries of markets. As recently as the 1970s, it was common for measurements of concentration ratios and HHIs to stop at national borders. Now, many industries find that their competition comes from the global market. A few decades ago, three companies, General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler, dominated the U.S. auto market. By 2014, however, these three firms were making less than half of U.S. auto sales, and facing competition from well-known car manufacturers such as Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Volkswagen, Mitsubishi, and Mazda. When HHIs are calculated with a global perspective, concentration in most major industries—including cars—is lower than in a purely domestic context.

Because attempting to define a particular market can be difficult and controversial, the Federal Trade Commission has begun to look less at market share and more at the data on actual competition between businesses. For example, in February 2007, Whole Foods Market and Wild Oats Market announced that they wished to merge. These were the two largest companies in the market that the government defined as “premium natural and organic supermarket chains.” However, one could also argue that they were two relatively small companies in the broader market for all stores that sell groceries or specialty food products.

Rather than relying on a market definition, the government antitrust regulators looked at detailed evidence on profits and prices for specific stores in different cities, both before and after other competitive stores entered or exited. Based on that evidence, the Federal Trade Commission decided to block the merger. After two years of legal battles, the merger was eventually allowed in 2009 under the conditions that Whole Foods sell off the Wild Oats brand name and a number of individual stores, to preserve competition in certain local markets. For more on the difficulties of defining markets, refer to Monopoly .

This new approach to antitrust regulation involves detailed analysis of specific markets and companies, instead of defining a market and counting up total sales. A common starting point is for antitrust regulators to use statistical tools and real-world evidence to estimate the demand curves and supply curves faced by the firms that are proposing the merger. A second step is to specify how competition occurs in this specific industry. Some possibilities include competing to cut prices, to raise output, to build a brand name through advertising, and to build a reputation for good service or high quality. With these pieces of the puzzle in place, it is then possible to build a statistical model that estimates the likely outcome for consumers if the two firms are allowed to merge. Of course, these models do require some degree of subjective judgment, and so they can become the subject of legal disputes between the antitrust authorities and the companies that wish to merge.

Key concepts and summary

A corporate merger involves two private firms joining together. An acquisition refers to one firm buying another firm. In either case, two formerly independent firms become one firm. Antitrust laws seek to ensure active competition in markets, sometimes by preventing large firms from forming through mergers and acquisitions, sometimes by regulating business practices that might restrict competition, and sometimes by breaking up large firms into smaller competitors.

A four-firm concentration ratio is one way of measuring the extent of competition in a market. It is calculated by adding the market shares—that is, the percentage of total sales—of the four largest firms in the market. A Herfindahl-Hirschman Index (HHI) is another way of measuring the extent of competition in a market. It is calculated by taking the market shares of all firms in the market, squaring them, and then summing the total.

The forces of globalization and new communications and information technology have increased the level of competition faced by many firms by increasing the amount of competition from other regions and countries.

Problems

Use [link] to calculate the four-firm concentration ratio for the U.S. auto market. Does this indicate a concentrated market or not?

(Source: http://www.zacks.com/commentary/27690/auto-industry-stock-outlook-june-2013)
Global auto manufacturers with top four u.s. market share, june 2013
GM 19%
Ford 17%
Toyota 14%
Chrysler 11%
Got questions? Get instant answers now!

Use [link] and [link] to calculate the Herfindal-Hirschman Index for the U.S. auto market. Would the FTC approve a merger between GM and Ford?

(Source: http://www.zacks.com/commentary/27690/auto-industry-stock-outlook-june-2013)
Global auto manufacturers with additional u.s. market share, june 2013
Honda 10%
Nissan 7%
Hyundai 5%
Kia 4%
Subaru 3%
Volkswagen 3%
Got questions? Get instant answers now!

Questions & Answers

why is the marginal curve u shaped
jake Reply
which of marginal curve?
begyere
marginal cost curve
jake
what is demand function
uju Reply
demand function is the mathematical representation of price and quantity demanded of goods and services at various prices at a given time .
King
Demand function is an equation which shows the mathematical relationship between the quantity demanded of a good and the values of the various determinants of demand.
Bon
why would division of labour without trade not work
Frederick Reply
as far there is an output as a goal... trade can't be exempted... because the sole reason for division of labour is for an effective and efficient output or outcome.. with such exchange trade has taken place. .
Agha-Aiguokhian
Please what is paradox of value
rakia
what is the features of monopoly market? how it is different from monopolistic market?
alisha
how does scarcity described as the efficient byway to allocate resources in a free market?
God Reply
scarcity gives or births a rational thinking to an individual or state economy in the distribution of revenue or income to the right channels of their ends... assuming the market has the features of a free market (free entry and exit, close substitutes, market price control etc)
Agha-Aiguokhian
wath is the meaning the macro economics
Jimcaale Reply
What is the way out of Scarcity
Samuel
a state referenced economic study, the manner or behavioural pattern of a state choice in making economic decisions in satisfying their ends
Agha-Aiguokhian
Thanks brother
Samuel
what is macro economics
Balogun
is the study of a national economy as a whole
Rhoda
thanks
Balogun
what is micro economics
Balogun
micro is not the study of the entire economy as a whole. that is macro economics.
Brock
micro focuses more on decisions that individuals and firms make but also uses examples of countries regarding production.
Brock
I think is why some people get mixed up.
Brock
thanks a lot
Balogun
yes ,I think that is right
rene
how would you use budget constraints to explain trade off?
begyere
what is the difference between wants and needs as in economics
rene
wants may be unlimited but needs have the limit on the base of effort to pay.
Dambar
when total utility is constant, marginal utility do what?
rasheed Reply
Why is it that whenever I ask a question no one hears me out
Dominic
😊😊
Konadu
This is deals with only 1producer 1producer 1consumer
Motasay Reply
Oligopoly
Gh
thanks for you answer
Qaasim
With two buyers n sellers
Motasay
nothing only I study
Qaasim
still oligopoly That is when there is a limited buyer and seller in the industry. There are no perfectly elastic market entry, that is for both the price taker and the seller
Gh
thanks for your advice
Qaasim
welcomed bro
Gh
we can ask our doubt also isn't
Rohit
Yea you can as well
Gh
Like "beauty opportunity cost lies in the eyes of the beholder"discuss with practical examples
Dominic
Criticism of scarcity definition
No Reply
life is all about scarcity. there is a big reason behind that
Hassan
tell me the whole
No
as we are Muslims
Hassan
so what
No
we believe that our Allah. the God of Universe is Examining each and every one on the planet this Scarcity. the only place there is no scarcity is Aakhiro Doomsday
Hassan
i want Explanation ?
No
theory
No
You have came back our book of Quran
Hassan
Make some of our basic needs not available. For example like if we need a particular drugs to cure a virus ohh disease because if the scarcity of it it may lead to death
Motasay
what men gdb
Jimcaale Reply
with men government demand price
Jimcaale
how to draw demand curve
Michael Reply
What are the distinction between trade off and opportunity cost?
Eric Reply
what is monopoly
Mary Reply
What are the sources of monopoly
Mary
Sources of Monopoly Power Monopoly power is influenced by the following factors: Barriers to entry Number of competitors Advertising Degree of product differentiation The larger and more expensive the barriers to entry the greater the monopoly power The smaller the number of competitors in th
edward
monopoly occurs when specific enterprise supplies goods and controls the market.
sade
i think the sources of monopoly are barriers to enrty and product differentiation.
sade
Monopoly is a market structure characterized by a single seller, selling a unique product in the market in which s/he faces no competition, as s/he is the sole seller of goods with no close substitute.
edward
Monopoly is a market structure where the production of goods and services coupled with price determination of such commodities are left in the hands of a sole producer. Such factors are; Perfectly inelastic competition, High market barricade, High cost of raw materials,
Gh
what is price discrimination monopoly
sandra Reply
Charging different sets of consumers different prirces for the same good or service, for reasons not involved in cost of production. There are 3 degrees of price discrimination.
Darren
what are the 3 degree
obed
hello
Oparaugo
What up guys
Divine
what are four sources of monopoly
dora Reply
examples of what cause demand and supply to shift to the left.
Verte Reply
hello
Konadu
hi
Yaman
how are you
Yaman
are you fine
Yaman
hii
Liya
Why is there a trade off between inflation and employment? Give a situation to clear it up please
Kurt

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Source:  OpenStax, Principles of economics. OpenStax CNX. Sep 19, 2014 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11613/1.11
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