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Monopoly Power and Competition

The Italian Marginalist Perspective Manuela Mosca, Full Professor, University of Salento (Lecce), Italy
The innovative contributions of the Italian Marginalists - Pareto, Pantaleoni, De Viti de Marco and Barone, to economic theory have previously been overlooked. This is the first book to deal with the history of the theory of market power and of its relation with competition, focusing on the distinct intellectual tradition that is Italian Marginalist economic thought. Monopoly Power and Competition is a vital resource for historians of economic thought, as it explores a relatively untouched area of microeconomics that sheds light on the theories surrounding monopoly power and barriers to entry.
History of Economics Society’s Joseph J. Spengler Prize for Best Book 2019
Extent: 256 pp
Hardback Price: $125.00 Web: $112.50
Publication Date: 2018
ISBN: 978 1 78100 370 1
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  • Economics and Finance
  • History of Economic Thought
This defining and original book explores the history of monopoly power and of its relation to competition, focusing on the innovative contributions of the Italian marginalists – Pareto, Pantaleoni, De Viti de Marco and Barone. 

Manuela Mosca analyses their articulate vision of competition, and the structural and strategic entry barriers considered in their works to enrich existing literature on the history of the sources of market power. The book is not limited to the reconstruction of the elaboration of pure theory, it also highlights its policy implications and how this group applied their theories as cutting-edge experiments in analysing the labour market, socialism, the Great War and gender issues, against the background of the political situation of the period.

Monopoly Power and Competition is a vital resource for historians of economic thought, as it explores a relatively untouched area of microeconomics from a historical perspective, and reveals the theories surrounding monopoly power and competition. Microeconomists and industrial organisation scholars would similarly benefit from the knowledge of the origins of many microeconomic tools and notions
‘This defining and original book explores the history of monopoly power and of its relation to competition, focusing on the innovative contributions of the Italian Marginalists, Pareto, Pantaleoni, De Viti de Marco and Barone. Manuela Mosca analyses their articulate vision of competition, and the structural and strategic entry barriers considered in their works to enrich existing literature on the history of the sources of market power. The book is not limited to the reconstruction of the elaboration of pure theory, it also highlights its policy implications and how this group applied their theories as cutting-edge experiments in analysing the labour market, socialism, the Great War and gender issues, against the background of the political situation of the period.

Monopoly Power and Competition is a vital resource for historians of economic thought, as it explores a relatively untouched area of microeconomics in historical perspective, and reveals the theories surrounding monopoly power and competition. Microeconomists and industrial organisation scholars would similarly benefit from the knowledge of the origins of many microeconomic tools and notions.’
– History of Economics Society

‘Manuela Mosca has worked on the role of monopoly power in the history of economic analysis for the last twenty years. This book contains the upshot of her meticulous and insightful studies of how the problem was dealt with, the focus of attention being on four major Italian authors, Pareto, Pantaleoni, De Viti de Marco and Barone, co-founders of the marginalist school of economics. However, the investigation is not limited to the development of pure theory, it treats also its policy implications and the way these were effectuated against the background of the contemporary political situation. The book contains solid analytical reconstructions, an illuminating politico-historical discourse and is a pleasure to read.’
– Heinz D. Kurz, University of Graz, Austria​

‘This book is an invaluable vaccine against the tendency, all too common in some economic circles, to identify “competition” with the classroom model of perfectly competitive markets. Mosca highlights the classical economists’ vision of competition as an ongoing process, not an equilibrium state, explains the both the importance of potential competition in the classical framework and the way the concept of barriers to entry shapes modern views on the competition process. Her discussion makes clear the central place of vibrant Italian economic scholarship in developing these ideas.’
– Stephen Martin, Purdue University, US

‘Manuela Mosca offers a fascinating portrait of the generation of economic ideas through interaction among four gifted theorists and friends: Pareto, Pantaleoni, de Viti de Marco, and Barone. These four theorists set forth a unique approach to competition and monopoly, and that approach maps nicely onto the growing interest in social complexity.’
– Richard E. Wagner, George Mason University, US
Contents: Introduction 1. The sources of monopoly power in the history of economic thought 2. The universal force of competition 3. Monopoly power: competition is never perfect 4. Monopoly power, competition and reality 5. The concept of the state and economic policy Conclusions References Name Index