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By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Distinguish between a natural monopoly and a legal monopoly.
  • Explain how economies of scale and the control of natural resources led to the necessary formation of legal monopolies
  • Analyze the importance of trademarks and patents in promoting innovation
  • Identify examples of predatory pricing

Because of the lack of competition, monopolies tend to earn significant economic profits. These profits should attract vigorous competition as described in Perfect Competition , and yet, because of one particular characteristic of monopoly, they do not. Barriers to entry are the legal, technological, or market forces that discourage or prevent potential competitors from entering a market. Barriers to entry can range from the simple and easily surmountable, such as the cost of renting retail space, to the extremely restrictive. For example, there are a finite number of radio frequencies available for broadcasting. Once the rights to all of them have been purchased, no new competitors can enter the market.

In some cases, barriers to entry may lead to monopoly. In other cases, they may limit competition to a few firms. Barriers may block entry even if the firm or firms currently in the market are earning profits. Thus, in markets with significant barriers to entry, it is not true that abnormally high profits will attract new firms, and that this entry of new firms will eventually cause the price to decline so that surviving firms earn only a normal level of profit in the long run.

There are two types of monopoly, based on the types of barriers to entry they exploit. One is natural monopoly    , where the barriers to entry are something other than legal prohibition. The other is legal monopoly    , where laws prohibit (or severely limit) competition.

Natural monopoly

Economies of scale can combine with the size of the market to limit competition. (This theme was introduced in Cost and Industry Structure ). [link] presents a long-run average cost curve for the airplane manufacturing industry. It shows economies of scale up to an output of 8,000 planes per year and a price of P 0 , then constant returns to scale from 8,000 to 20,000 planes per year, and diseconomies of scale at a quantity of production greater than 20,000 planes per year.

Now consider the market demand curve in the diagram, which intersects the long-run average cost (LRAC) curve at an output level of 6,000 planes per year and at a price P 1 , which is higher than P 0 . In this situation, the market has room for only one producer. If a second firm attempts to enter the market at a smaller size, say by producing a quantity of 4,000 planes, then its average costs will be higher than the existing firm, and it will be unable to compete. If the second firm attempts to enter the market at a larger size, like 8,000 planes per year, then it could produce at a lower average cost—but it could not sell all 8,000 planes that it produced because of insufficient demand in the market.

Economies of scale and natural monopoly

The graph represents a natural monopoly as evidenced by the demand curve intersecting with the downward-sloping part of the LRAC curve.
In this market, the demand curve intersects the long-run average cost (LRAC) curve at its downward-sloping part. A natural monopoly occurs when the quantity demanded is less than the minimum quantity it takes to be at the bottom of the long-run average cost curve.

Questions & Answers

prove or disprove that balance of trade of trade deficit is a cause of an abnormal demand curve?
Chioma Reply
what's the fixed cost at output zero
Saidou Reply
fixed cost stay the same regardless of the level of output
Luka
what are the differences between change in demand and change in quantity demand
Sulaiman Reply
what is consumers behaviour
Marfo Reply
importance of income
Emmanuel Reply
Tfor settlement of debt. For purchases. For payment of bills. For daily transactions. For social & recreational enjoyment. For business purposes etc
Oyetunde
thanks
Emmanuel
For investment purposes For security purposes For purpose of forecasting & strategizing.
Oyetunde
what is the real definition of economics
jegede Reply
Economics is the study of the use and allocation of (scarce) resources
demsurf
Jegede, what is the "non" real definition of economics then?
Ernest
Economics is a study of how human use limited resources to fulfil their unlimited want
Musa
the study of how a society use scarce factors of production efficiently so as meet aggregate social demand
Marc
what is oligopoly?
Sailo
Oligopoly can be defines as a market where by there is only tmo or more sellers of a commodity
Paamat
Sory not tmo but two
Paamat
incidence of production there is a choice do you agree? justify
Oduro Reply
What is incidence of production? do u mean incidence of tax?
Aryeetey
I want to know about Richard lipsey and robin as the economist and their definition proposed by them
Musa Reply
what are the causes of scarcity And what are the goal scarcity
Musa
scarcity only exist because human wants are unlimited...if human just know how to be contented then scarcity will not exist
Ylaine
what is ment by possibility curve
Ruzaiq
define accounting?teatly
Ahmed Reply
Is the recording, classifying, interpreting record of all transaction
Yuusuf
is still the act of measuring, interpreting and communicating of financial issues
Yuusuf
measuring business or individual finance
Zeyi
Accounting is the process of collecting,recording,classifying,summarizing and interpreting/presenting financial data to the stakeholders for their economic decision making
asri
hi
Otilina
hi
AVIAH
wat is PPC
ALLAJI
what are the different between need and wants
Musa Reply
the major difference is necessity
Yuusuf
explain any four tool of monetary policy to solve the problem of inflation.
Alicesha Reply
bank rate,open market operation,legal reserve requirement
Johnson
what's marginal utility?
Abena Reply
the additional utility you get if you can consume one more unit of the good x
Luka
Thanks... then what's the law of diminishing marginal utility ?
Abena
The utility decreases with every unit you consume (most of the time). The first unit of consumption will therefore give you the highest utility. Sorry about my english
Luka
Okay... I understand now
Abena
Great!
Luka
hello room
Lawal
one of the leading industrial nations of the world ranking second in manufacturing output after the USA is a. Russia b. Germany c. Britain d. Japan
Lawal
china
Siddharth
japan
Siddharth
good morning
Lamin
hi
Rafiu
hi
nivedha
japan
Ylaine
morning
Adegboye
no other questions?
Ylaine
hii
Dipun
I am from India
Dipun
same question are not mentioned
Dipun
first you give my answer
Dipun
hi
adelakun
welcome
Ahmed
dipun naik
Ahmed
whats your question
adelakun
whats your question
adelakun
I am from India
Dipun
retype the questions
adelakun
marginal untility is the last point desire of a consumer that gets benefit from related good/ service.
Saboor
Why are some countries rich and why are some countries poor? . is poorness a human cause?
Yacquub
well several factors are included...it's not just because of human..
Ylaine
what is a correct reason
Vijay
Japan
Lawal
countries which are rich they are developed countries they have good resources minerals technology power knowledge to use the resources poor countries are under developing countries they have lack of resources, knowledge and if they have these so they dont know the use of these resources.
Siddharth
so these knowledgeable people move /migrate to the other rich/developed countries
Siddharth
Poverty of a country is also related to cultural, economical, and military domination. Usually, the dominant country imposes all of these powers when diplomatically needed or sometimes by force.
Ernest
You can also have considerable poverty in a rich country when such poverty is measured within sectors of its population. In other words, economic indicators can sometime mask such poverty.
Ernest
For example, the U.S.A. has a very high measure of GDP per capital, but millions of Americans ( a considerable amount are children) live in poverty.
Ernest
So poverty is not an easy social phenomenon to pin down neatly into one social realm or another.
Ernest
pls what is price ceiling
jasmine
its the max price a seller can charge for a product, mostly imposed by the government to protect the consumer
Luka
its the max price a seller can charge for a product, mostly imposed by the government to protect the consumer plus it must be imposed below the equilibrium price in order to be effective. A shortage will also be created after its imposition.
Zafar
can happiness be measured?
Ylaine
Happiness is too subjective to be measured as an economic phenomenon or reality. I think that happiness happens at several levels of the human condition: biological, psychological, intellectual and at the level of the soul. How can economic theory be scientific about it?
Ernest
about I have read of something called gross happiness index.
Ylaine
Germany
Arthur
what's Neo classical definition of economic
Mohammed
hi
ALLAJI
economic is a social science studied as a relationship between end and needs scarce which have alternative uses
ALLAJI
what's equilibrium
Daniel
What is economies of scale
Jeremiah Reply
In microeconomics, economies of scale are the sum of total costs saved or that a firm has advantage over its competitors due to its scale of operations. More specifically, it is the firm's cost savings per unit of output that it gains as its production increases in scale.
Ernest
one of the leading industrial nations of the world ranking second in manufacturing output after the USA is ......... a. Russia b. Germany c. Britain d. Japan
Lawal
what is supply of demand?
Joseph Reply
supply of demand?
Yuusuf
1)importance of internal trade. 2) international trade barriers 3) principles of international trade
umar Reply
how can tell me about the GDP
Mahmood

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Source:  OpenStax, Principles of economics. OpenStax CNX. Sep 19, 2014 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11613/1.11
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