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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

Leo Robinson's definition
Adejimi Reply
how is equilibrium defined in financial markets?
Babakura Reply
the concept of it
DALOM
Country A has export sales 20 billion, government purchases 1000billion, business investment is 50 billion, imports are 40billion, and consumption spending is 2000billin. What is the dollar value of GDP ?
Habtamu Reply
what is determination of national income?
Waqar Reply
economic growth
Rukaiya
stock of capital
Rukaiya
we're RBI keep money with them
Anil
Y =C+l
Favour
evaluate the success affirmative action as one of south Africa's redress method
Tebatso Reply
what is market equilibrium
explorer Reply
it is a situation in which the supply of an item is exactly equal to it dd .
Ssmith
inder wat condition shld a firm stop production in both short n lungrun ?
Ssmith
what is 2nd degree price discrimination?
Ssmith
what is quantity
Tettey
what is quantity2
Deji Reply
An indefinite amount of something.
explorer
what is demand
Kaman Reply
in ordinary sense demand means desire
Khalid
demand in economics means both willingness as well as the ability to purchase a commodity by paying a price an also its actuall purchase
Khalid
what is absolute advantage
Khalid
demand refers to the various quantity of goods and services that consumers are willing and able to purchase at a particular period of time all other things been equal
Dela
The amount of a good or service that consumers are willing to buy at a particular price.
explorer
what is cost pull inflation?
oru
what is utility
oru
what is cost pull inflation?
oru
demand is economic principle referring to a consumer's desire and willingness to pay a price for a specific or service..
Babakura
utility is the among of certisfaction driving from using a comundity
Anas
pull cost of inflation hight population unemployment to some of The country members poor government system
Anas
what is a buffer scheme
Lukong
state the second law of demand and supply
Ahmadou Reply
state the law of diminishing marginal utility
Ahmadou
dt know WATS the answer
Rukundo
mention and explain two Bank I financial institutions and two non baking financial institutions
Onah Reply
wat is demand pull inflation
Tony Reply
Demand-pull inflation is asserted to arise when aggregate demandin an economy outpaces aggregate supply. It involvesinflation rising as real gross domestic product rises and unemployment falls, as the economy moves along the Phillips curve.
kevin
Perfectly elastic demand
Abubakar Reply
this is a form of demand where goods are demanded at a constant price
Rukundo
what inelastic demanding
Koire
demand of any good demanded more after a certain period. if a commodity prices may high and scarcity of that resources.
Anil
cannot demand more
Anil
what is cross-elasticity of demand
Miles Reply
cross elasticity of demand is an economic concept that measures the responsiveness in the quantity demand of one good when a change in price takes place in other good
Mallekha
this is responsiveness quantity demanded keeping other factors constant
Rukundo
what economic growth
Rukundo Reply
conditions of perfect market
NdzAlama Reply
CONDITIONS OF PERFECT MARKET: 1. Perfect competition(PC): no increasing returns, many buyers and sellers, all are price takers, not prices makers. 2. Perfect Information (PI): buyers and sellers know all they need to know about what they are buying and selling to make the right decisions.
Mallekha
3. Complete Markets(CM): no externalities or public goods, no transactions costs, "thick" markets.
Mallekha
nice contributor
Mohammed
A numerous downsized market that does not meet standards.
LaTasha
A Perfect Market is a numerous downsized market that does not meet standards.
LaTasha
what is a market
Ahmadou
is place where buyers and sellers met together for the purpose of buying and selling of good and services
Babakura

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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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