Oligopoly is defined as a market structure in which there are a few major firms dominating the market for a specific product or service. One key factor in oligopolies is that each firm/company explicitly takes other firms’ likely responses into account when setting prices, launching new products, etc. For this reason, there is significant ‘friendly’ competition between firms. They each know that it is in their own best interests to maintain a stable price, for if they lower their prices, their competitors will do the same and knock out any advantage the original firm was hoping to gain with lower prices. If they raise their prices, the competitors will not follow suit and will therefore steal away all the customers of the higher priced product. Another key factor in oligopolies is that there are significant barriers to entry into this market. These barriers can include things such as high fixed costs, availability of resources, and brand loyalty. Many smaller companies simply do not have the cash or resources to compete with these large firms. Another characteristic of oligopolies is that the percentages of market shares change very little from year to year and are dependent upon introduction of new products or acquisitions of smaller companies. For this reason, a benchmark of... [continues]
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