Introduction to Stigler’s Theory of Oligopoly

Dennis Carlton, Sam Peltzman, Nov 05, 2010

This article introduces the reprint of George Stigler’s A Theory of Oligopoly, first published in 1964. Stigler’s article was a landmark in the theory of industrial organization and in the practice of antitrust.  For industrial organization economists it focused attention on the sorry state of oligopoly theory and, using information theory, proposed a theory that could explain the deviations of oligopoly pricing from competitive pricing.  For antitrust practitioners the article came to have an important impact on the application of antitrust law, especially in the merger area. Indeed, it is not an understatement to say that Stigler’s theory of oligopoly remains a central pillar in merger policy in most, if not all, antitrust regimes around the world