By Dominich Armentano
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Additional info for Antitrust And Monopoly: Anatomy of a Policy Failure
W hether higher expenditures are socially efficient or legitimate is to be determined ultimately by competition and not by outside observers. Advertising may, of course, lower the average total costs of a product and act as a barrier-to-entry to competition. This could occur if media advertising expanded the market for a product or if it substituted for more expensive and MARKET STRUCTURE AND INDUSTRIAL ORGANIZATION 39 less effective marketing techniques. But as with the achievement of any econ omy in the use of resources, such circumstances are never to be regretted, and certainly not from any consumer perspective.
It is only because consumers find resources satisfactorily allocated that potential competitors find entry difficult or impossible. Product differentiation, especially a differentiation that increases prices, can act as a barrier to entry only if consumers prefer that differentiation, and are willing to pay the presumably higher prices associated with, say, new annual auto style changes. If consumers do not prefer such changes and instead reward the firms that change styles less often, or not at all, then product differentia tion could hardly act as a barrier to entry.
Since other things are never constant in an actual situation, there is never any guar antee that one is, in fact, testing cross-elasticity at all. Economic principles such as elasticity are unlikely to be verified by empirical experiments that are, of necessity, a mosaic of complex and nonrepeatable historical events. Further, all close substitutes in markets differ on the basis of appearance, reliability, quality, service, technical assistance, ease of shipment, warranty, and many other factors that buyers may consider important.