Monopolistic Competition

Topics: Economics, Perfect competition, Monopoly Pages: 16 (5474 words) Published: January 10, 2011
Monopolistic competition

Monopolistic competition is a form of imperfect competition where many competing producers sell products that are differentiated from one another (that is, the products are substitutes, but, with differences such as branding, are not exactly alike). In monopolistic competition firms can behave like monopolies in the short-run, including using market power to generate profit. In the long-run, other firms enter the market and the benefits of differentiation decrease with competition; the market becomes more like perfect competition where firms cannot gain economic profit. However, in reality, if consumer rationality/innovativeness is low and heuristics is preferred, monopolistic competition can fall into natural monopoly, at the complete absence of government intervention.[1] At the presence of coercive government, monopolistic competition will fall into government-granted monopoly. Unlike perfect competition, the firm maintains spare capacity. Models of monopolistic competition are often used to model industries. Textbook examples of industries with market structures similar to monopolistic competition include restaurants, cereal, clothing, shoes, and service industries in large cities. The "founding father" of the theory of monopolistic competition was Edward Hastings Chamberlin in his pioneering book on the subject Theory of Monopolistic Competition (1933).[2] Joan Robinson also receives credit as an early pioneer on the concept.

Monopolistically competitive markets have the following characteristics: * There are many producers and many consumers in a given market, and no business has total control over the market price. * Consumers perceive that there are non-price differences among the competitors' products. * There are few barriers to entry and exit.[3]

* Producers have a degree of control over price.
The long-run characteristics of a monopolistically competitive market are almost the same as in perfect competition, with the exception of monopolistic competition having heterogeneous products, and that monopolistic competition involves a great deal of non-price competition (based on subtle product differentiation). A firm making profits in the short run will break even in the long run because demand will decrease and average total cost will increase. This means in the long run, a monopolistically competitive firm will make zero economic profit. This gives the amount of influence over the market; because of brand loyalty, it can raise its prices without losing all of its customers. This means that an individual firm's demand curve is downward sloping, in contrast to perfect competition, which has a perfectly elastic demand schedule.

Short-run equilibrium of the firm under monopolistic competition. The firm maximizes its profits and produces a quantity where the firm's marginal revenue (MR) is equal to its marginal cost (MC). The firm is able to collect a price based on the average revenue (AR) curve. The difference between the firms average revenue and average cost gives it a profit.

Long-run equilibrium of the firm under monopolistic competition. The firm still produces where marginal cost and marginal revenue are equal; however, the demand curve (and AR) has shifted as other firms entered the market and increased competition. The firm no longer sells its goods above average cost and can no longer claim an economic profit

Major characteristics
There are six characteristics of monopolistic competition (MC): * product differentiation
* many firms
* free entry and exit in long run
* Independent decision making
* Market Power
* Buyers and Sellers have perfect information[4][5]

Product differentiation
MC firms sell products that have real or perceived non-price differences. However, the differences are not so great as to eliminate goods as substitutes. Technically the cross price elasticity of demand between goods would be positive.In fact the...
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Economics Perfect Competition and Monopolistic Competition Essay
  • Monopoly vs Perfect Competition Essay
  • Monopolistic Competition Research Paper
  • Economis Monopolistic Competition Essay
  • What Is a Monopolistic Competition Essay
  • Why Is Perfect Competition Often Described as the Ideal Market Structure? Essay
  • Perfect Competition Essay
  • To What Extent Is a Perfect Competition Market Structure Always More Efficient Than Monopoly? Essay

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free