Competition Leads to a More Efficient Use of Resources

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Competition leads to a more efficient use of resources. Discuss.

The word “efficiency”, in economists’ dictionary, is often interpreted into the degree of an economy allocates scarce resources to meet the needs and wants of consumers. As we can see that a free market economy is the one in which resources are allocated based on the principle of self-interests. Where there are profits, there are firms, and where there are firms to produce identical goods and services, inevitably, there is competition. The degree of competition determines the market structure which is the main determinant of the behaviour or conduct of firms. This in turn determines the efficiency in the use of scarce resources. It is often argued that competition leads to a more efficient use of resources. I agree with the statement, but not totally. In my opinion, competition would lead to efficiency and best use of resource by encouraging firms to improve productivity, to reduce price and to innovate, but in certain industries, particularly industries where the impact of economies of scale is distinctive, for example industries with great indivisibilities, monopoly is more favourable.

Economic efficiency can be seen to maximizing total utility from a given amount of scarce resources. There are two types of economic efficiency—allocative efficiency and productive efficiency. According to their definitions, the idea of allocative efficiency is that “consumers pay firms exactly what the marginal cost is (Price=Marginal cost)…such a pricing strategy can be shown to be a key condition if achieving a ‘Pareto optimum’ resource allocation, where it is no longer possible to make anyone ‘better-off’ without making someone else ‘worse-off’.” (Griffiths and Wall, p93) When this condition is satisfied, total consumer and producer’s surplus are maximized. Alternatively, productive efficiency is about how to produce a good or service. To achieve productive efficiency, a firm must use all available methods



Bibliography: Griffiths, A. and Wall, S.: Applied Economies (8th ed). Pearson Education Limited. Edinburgh Gate Harlow, Essex, CM20 2JE. Katz, M.L. and Rosen H.S.: (1994) Microeconomics (2nd ed). Richard D. Irwin, Inc., Burr Ridge, Illinois. Low, R.E.: (1970) Modern Economic Organization. Richard D. Irwin, Inc., Homewood, Illinois. Powell, R.: (1988) Economics. A-Level Course Companion (3rd ed). Charles Letts & Co Ltd, London, Edinburgh and New York. Shepherd, W.G.: (1970) Market Power and Economic Welfare. Dewey, D.J., Random House, Inc., New York. Sloman, J.: Essential of Economics (2nd ed). Pearson Education Limited, Edinburgh Gate, Harlow, Essex, CM20 2JE. Smith, A.: (1776) wealth of nations (Selected Edition). Oxford University Press, Walton Street, Oxford OX2 6DP

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