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A photograph of a man in a wheat field.
Depending upon the competition and prices offered, a wheat farmer may choose to grow a different crop. (Credit: modification of work by Daniel X. O'Neil/Flickr Creative Commons)

A dime a dozen

When you were younger did you babysit, deliver papers, or mow the lawn for money? If so, you faced stiff competition from a lot of other competitors who offered identical services. There was nothing to stop others from offering their services too.

All of you charged the “going rate.” If you tried to charge more, your customers would simply buy from someone else. These conditions are very similar to the conditions agricultural growers face.

Growing a crop may be more difficult to start than a babysitting or lawn mowing service, but growers face the same fierce competition. In the grand scale of world agriculture, farmers face competition from thousands of others because they sell an identical product. After all, winter wheat is winter wheat. But it is relatively easy for farmers to leave the marketplace for another crop. In this case, they do not sell the family farm, they switch crops.

Take the case of the upper Midwest region of the United States—for many generations the area was called “King Wheat.” According to the United States Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service, statistics by state, in 1997, 11.6 million acres of wheat and 780,000 acres of corn were planted in North Dakota. In the intervening 15 or so years has the mix of crops changed? Since it is relatively easy to switch crops, did farmers change what was planted as the relative crop prices changed? We will find out at chapter’s end.

In the meantime, let's consider the topic of this chapter—the perfectly competitive market. This is a market in which entry and exit are relatively easy and competitors are “a dime a dozen.”

Introduction to perfect competition

In this chapter, you will learn about:

  • Perfect Competition and Why It Matters
  • How Perfectly Competitive Firms Make Output Decisions
  • Entry and Exit Decisions in the Long Run
  • Efficiency in Perfectly Competitive Markets

All businesses face two realities: no one is required to buy their products, and even customers who might want those products may buy from other businesses instead. Firms that operate in perfectly competitive markets face this reality. In this chapter, you will learn how such firms make decisions about how much to produce, how much profit they make, whether to stay in business or not, and many others. Industries differ from one another in terms of how many sellers there are in a specific market, how easy or difficult it is for a new firm to enter, and the type of products that are sold. This is referred to as the market structure of the industry. In this chapter, we focus on perfect competition. However, in other chapters we will examine other industry types: Monopoly and Monopolistic Competition and Oligopoly .

Questions & Answers

why is the marginal curve u shaped
jake Reply
what is demand function
uju Reply
demand function is the mathematical representation of price and quantity demanded of goods and services at various prices at a given time .
King
Demand function is an equation which shows the mathematical relationship between the quantity demanded of a good and the values of the various determinants of demand.
Bon
why would division of labour without trade not work
Frederick Reply
as far there is an output as a goal... trade can't be exempted... because the sole reason for division of labour is for an effective and efficient output or outcome.. with such exchange trade has taken place. .
Agha-Aiguokhian
Please what is paradox of value
rakia
what is the features of monopoly market? how it is different from monopolistic market?
alisha
how does scarcity described as the efficient byway to allocate resources in a free market?
God Reply
scarcity gives or births a rational thinking to an individual or state economy in the distribution of revenue or income to the right channels of their ends... assuming the market has the features of a free market (free entry and exit, close substitutes, market price control etc)
Agha-Aiguokhian
wath is the meaning the macro economics
Jimcaale Reply
What is the way out of Scarcity
Samuel
a state referenced economic study, the manner or behavioural pattern of a state choice in making economic decisions in satisfying their ends
Agha-Aiguokhian
Thanks brother
Samuel
when total utility is constant, marginal utility do what?
rasheed Reply
Why is it that whenever I ask a question no one hears me out
Dominic
😊😊
Konadu
This is deals with only 1producer 1producer 1consumer
Motasay Reply
Oligopoly
Gh
thanks for you answer
Qaasim
With two buyers n sellers
Motasay
nothing only I study
Qaasim
still oligopoly That is when there is a limited buyer and seller in the industry. There are no perfectly elastic market entry, that is for both the price taker and the seller
Gh
thanks for your advice
Qaasim
welcomed bro
Gh
we can ask our doubt also isn't
Rohit
Yea you can as well
Gh
Like "beauty opportunity cost lies in the eyes of the beholder"discuss with practical examples
Dominic
Criticism of scarcity definition
No Reply
life is all about scarcity. there is a big reason behind that
Hassan
tell me the whole
No
as we are Muslims
Hassan
so what
No
we believe that our Allah. the God of Universe is Examining each and every one on the planet this Scarcity. the only place there is no scarcity is Aakhiro Doomsday
Hassan
i want Explanation ?
No
theory
No
You have came back our book of Quran
Hassan
Make some of our basic needs not available. For example like if we need a particular drugs to cure a virus ohh disease because if the scarcity of it it may lead to death
Motasay
what men gdb
Jimcaale Reply
with men government demand price
Jimcaale
how to draw demand curve
Michael Reply
What are the distinction between trade off and opportunity cost?
Eric Reply
what is monopoly
Mary Reply
What are the sources of monopoly
Mary
Sources of Monopoly Power Monopoly power is influenced by the following factors: Barriers to entry Number of competitors Advertising Degree of product differentiation The larger and more expensive the barriers to entry the greater the monopoly power The smaller the number of competitors in th
edward
monopoly occurs when specific enterprise supplies goods and controls the market.
sade
i think the sources of monopoly are barriers to enrty and product differentiation.
sade
Monopoly is a market structure characterized by a single seller, selling a unique product in the market in which s/he faces no competition, as s/he is the sole seller of goods with no close substitute.
edward
Monopoly is a market structure where the production of goods and services coupled with price determination of such commodities are left in the hands of a sole producer. Such factors are; Perfectly inelastic competition, High market barricade, High cost of raw materials,
Gh
what is price discrimination monopoly
sandra Reply
Charging different sets of consumers different prirces for the same good or service, for reasons not involved in cost of production. There are 3 degrees of price discrimination.
Darren
what are the 3 degree
obed
hello
Oparaugo
What up guys
Divine
what are four sources of monopoly
dora Reply
examples of what cause demand and supply to shift to the left.
Verte Reply
hello
Konadu
hi
Yaman
how are you
Yaman
are you fine
Yaman
hii
Liya
Why is there a trade off between inflation and employment? Give a situation to clear it up please
Kurt

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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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