2 IntroductionIntroduced by Joan Robinson (The Economics of Imperfect Competition, 1933) and Edward H. Chamberlin (The Theory of Monopolistic Competition, 1933)It is a market situation in which a relatively large number of producers offer similar but not identical products.A combination of perfect competition and monopoly.Imperfect competition because a large number of sellers sell heterogeneous or differentiated products and buyers have preferences for specific sellers.Monopolistic, because each of these sellers makes the product unique by some differentiation and has control over the small section of market, just like a monopolist.
3 Features of Monopolistic Competition Chamberlin:“Monopolistic competition is a challenge to the traditional viewpoint of economics that competition and monopoly are alternatives…By contrast it is held that most economic situations are composites of both competition and monopoly.”Features:Large number of buyers and sellers:..Heterogeneous products.A differentiated product enjoys some degree of uniqueness in the mindset of customers, be it real, or imaginary.Selling costs existIndependent decision making.Imperfect knowledge.Unrestricted entry and exit.
4 Demand and Marginal Revenue Curves of a Firm If the firm increases the price of its product slightly, it will lose some, but not all of its customers;if it lowers the price slightly, it will gain some, but not all of the customers of its rivals.Thus in monopolistic competition: demand is highly elastic and slope of demand curve is flatterDemand curve for a firm has a negative slope as all firms in the industry sell close substitutes of each other.Price, RevenueARMRQuantityO
5 Price and Output Decisions in Short Run Joan Robinson: Each firm has a monopoly over its product.When product is differentiated, firm has some monopoly power.Firms have limited discretion over price, due to the existence of consumer loyalty for specific brands.Negative slope of the demand curve that is instrumental for chances of monopoly profits in the short run.The reason for supernormal profit in short run, is supplying a product which is differentiated, or at least perceived to be different by the consumer.
6 Price & Output Decisions in Short Run Firm maximizes profit where (i) MR=MC; (ii) MC cuts MR when MC is rising.Profit maximising output OQE and Price OPEMRARMCPrice, Revenue, CostQuantityACPEAQEOEBQuantityARMCPrice, Revenue, CostMRACEPEAQEOBTotal revenue = OPEBQETotal cost =OAEQESupernormal profit =AEBPE since price OPE > QEB (i.e. AC)Total revenue = OPEBQETotal cost =OAEQELoss =AEBPEsince price OPE < QEB (i.e. AC)
7 Price and Output Decisions in Long Run Firm maximizes profit where (i) MR=MC; (ii) MC cuts MR when MC is rising.Profit maximising output OQE and Price OPEJust like perfect competition, in monopolistic competition too all the firms would earn normal profits in the long run.In the long run supernormal profit would attract new firms to the industry till all the firms earn only normal profits.Losses, will force firms to exit the industry till remaining firms in the market earn only normal profits.If all the firms only normal profit there will be no tendency to enter or exit the market.LMCPrice, Revenue, CostARMRQuantityLACEPEQEOTotal revenue = Total cost =OAEQENormal profit = No loss no gainsince price OPE = QEB (i.e. AC)
8 Comparison with Monopoly and Perfect Competition DMQMEMCECEMOPrice, Revenue, CostPCDMCQuantityPMCDCLACQMCQCPMAll firms are in equilibrium and earning normal profit.Perfect competition: horizontal demand curve (DC); output QC; price PCMonopolistic competition: downward sloping demand curve (DMC); output QMC (< QC), at price PMC (> PC).Monopoly: downward sloping less elastic curve D M; output Q M (< QC and QMC), at price PM (> PC and PMC).Excess capacity due to market imperfections= QC> Q MC >QMMonopoly and monopolistically competitive firm operate at less than optimum output, charge a higher price.
9 SummaryMost firms compete with each other and have some (if not full) degree of market power. Thus they lie somewhere between the two extremes of monopoly and perfect competition.Joan Robinson of Cambridge and Chamberlin of Harvard independently came up with a new concept of market, which Robinson referred to as “imperfect competition” and Chamberlin termed as “monopolistic competition”.A monopolistically competitive has features like large number of buyers and sellers, heterogeneous product, selling costs, independent decision making, imperfect knowledge, unrestricted entry and exit.It is difficult to define an industry in case of monopolistic competition as firms sell differentiated products. Alternatively, we identify groups of differentiated products in this type of market, by clubbing close substitutes from the same industry and regard them as “product groups”.
10 SummaryFirms under monopolistic competition have a normal demand curve with a negative slope because of substitution effect of heterogeneous products, which are close substitutes of each other.They may generate supernormal profits or normal profits, or may even incur losses in the short run.In the long run all firms earn normal profits due to the feature of unrestricted entry and exit.It is profitable for to attract customers through advertising rather than by lowering the price.A firm in perfect competition is able to efficiently allocate its resources by maximizing producer and consumer surplus, though a monopolist and a monopolistically competitive firm operate at less than optimum output, and charge a higher price.