Journal of Quantitative Economics

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 1–14 | Cite as

Too Small to Regulate

  • Kaushik BasuEmail author
  • Avinash Dixit
Original Article


The paper argues that to achieve compliance of firms with regulations such as product quality or environmental or health standards it is better to have industries with a few large corporations than numerous small firms. We construct a model to show that limited liability constraints bind more easily in competitive industries, making it harder to impose sufficiently severe penalties and costlier to send sufficient monitors. Having large corporations allows the government effectively to delegate some of its monitoring functions to the managers of the corporation. The tradeoff between this issue and the usual argument in favor of competition is considered.


Regulation Firm size Limited liability Corruption Corporation 

JEL Classification

L10 L51 



We thank James Matthew Trevino for capable research assistance. Dixit thanks Nuffield Collge, Oxford, where part of his work was done, for its excellent academic facilities and generous hospitality.


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Copyright information

© The Indian Econometric Society 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cornell UniversityIthacaUSA
  2. 2.Princeton UniversityPrincetonUSA

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