"The reduction in trade barriers in Europe through the Single Market Programme (SMP) was intended to increase competition in European markets, and hence welfare and efficiency. The paper examines how the SMP has affected trade patterns and what can be learnt from this regarding the impact on competitive behaviour. Combining an econometric and computable general equilibrium methodology, it is argued that (1) the SMP has indeed had a strong impact on competitive behaviour; (2) the extent of the impact depends both on changes in the intensity of competition as well as on changes in the nature of competitive interaction; (3) while all economies experience potentially large welfare gains from the SMP, it is the smaller economies that experience the larger gains, but this in turn suggests that they experience a greater degree of restructuring." Copyright Centre for Economic Policy Research, Centre for Economic Studies, Maison des Sciences de l'Homme 1997.
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