product differentiation physical differences color, size, taste... location convenience, drug stores services delivery image high quality vs. value
Relationship to perfect competition Monopolistic competition is similar to perfect competition in that: There are many buyers and sellers There are no barriers to entry or exit But it is difference because: Product is NOT identical Downward sloping demand curve
Relationship to monopoly Monopolistic competition is similar to monopoly in that: Each firm is the sole producer of a particular product (although close substitutes) The firm faces a downward sloping demand curve for its product But it is different from monopoly in that No barriers to entry Many firms
Demand curve facing a monopolistically competitive firm P, cost Q D MR
The firm’s demand curve and entry and exit Monopolistically competitive demand curve More elastic than monopoly Less elastic than perfect competition
The firm’s demand curve and entry and exit As firms enter a monopolistically competitive market, the demand facing a typical firm Declines becomes more elastic.
Excess capacity firms output is not at minimum of ATC Cost is not minimized output too small loss of economic welfare This is the tradeoff for product variety
Monopolistic competition vs. perfect competition
Monopolistic competition and efficiency As the number of firms rises, a monopolistically competitive firm’s demand curve becomes more elastic. As the number of firms in a market expands, the market approaches a perfectly competitive market. Thus, economic inefficiency may be smaller when there is a large number of firms in a monopolistically competitive market.
Product differentiation and advertising Monopolistically competitive firms may receive short-run economic profit from successful product differentiation and advertising. These profits are, however, expected to disappear in the long run as other firms copy successful innovations.
Location decisions Why do gas stations locate across the street? To eliminate customer choice based solely on location Monopolistically competitive firms often locate near each other to appeal to the “median” customer in a geographical region. Example: auto row (Genesee St.)
Next time, 11/8 Dr. Spizman Oligopoly (chapter 12)
Oligopoly a small number of firms produce most output a standardized or differentiated product recognized mutual interdependence, and difficult entry.
Strategic behavior Strategic behavior occurs when the best outcome for one party depends upon the actions and reactions of other parties.
Kinked demand curve model Other firms are assumed to match price decreases, but not price increases. There is little evidence suggesting that this model describes the behavior of oligopoly firms. Game theory models are more commonly used.
Game theory Examines the payoffs associated with alternative choices of each participant in the “game.”
Game theory examples Prisoners’ dilemma Duopoly pricing game
Dominant strategy A dominant strategy is one that provides the highest payoff for an individual for each and every possible action by rivals. Confession is the dominant strategy in the prisoners’ dilemma game. A low price is the dominant strategy in the duopoly pricing game It is more difficult to predict the outcome when no dominant strategy exists or when the game is repeated with the same players.
Shared monopoly Joint profits are higher when firms behave as a shared monopoly Such a cartel arrangement is illegal in the U.S. Price leadership Facilitating practices (e.g., cost-plus pricing, recommended retail prices, etc.)
Cartels Cartels are legal in some countries A cartel arrangement can maximize industry profits Each firm can increase its profits by violating the agreement Cartel agreements have generally been unstable.
Imperfect information Brand name identification – serves as a signal of product quality. Customers are willing to pay a higher price for products produced by firms that they recognize. Product guarantees also serve as a signal of product quality