Herfindahl index

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Herfindahl-Hirschman Index

An index of market concentration the U.S. Department of Justice uses to determine whether a monopoly is forming. The scale goes from zero to 10,000, with 10,000 indicating that a single company controls 100% of the market share in a given industry. An HHI of less than 1000 indicates a market with little concentration, which the Justice Department prefers. Any merger or acquisition leading to an increase of more than 100 when the HHI was previously greater than 1,800 may lead to antitrust action against the company involved.
Herfindahl indexclick for a larger image
Fig. 83 Herfindahl index. The Herfindahl index (H) is the sum of the squared firm sizes, all measured as a proportion of total market size. In the figure, for market A, H = (0.12)2 X 5 + (0.08)2X 5 = 0.104. If all firms in the market are the same size, then the value of the index is equal to the reciprocal of the number of firms; thus, if there are 10 firms all of the same size, H = 0.1. The upper limit of the index is 1, which occurs when there is a monopoly. The figure shows that market B (H = 0.190), with a single dominant firm, is almost twice as concentrated as market A, despite the latter having fewer firms.

Herfindahl index

a measure of the degree of SELLER CONCENTRATION in a MARKET that takes into account the total number of firms in the market and their relative size distribution (share of total market output). See CONCENTRATION MARKET.