2 Objectives After studying this chapter, you will able to Explain how monopoly arises and distinguish between single-price monopoly and price-discriminating monopolyExplain how a single-price monopoly determines its output and priceCompare the performance and efficiency of single-price monopoly and competition
3 Objectives After studying this chapter, you will able to Define rent seeking and explain why it arisesExplain how price discrimination increases profitExplain how monopoly regulation influences output, price, economic profit, and efficiency
4 Dominating the Internet eBay and Google are dominant players in the markets they serve.These firms are not like the firms in perfect competition.How do firms that dominate their markets behave?Students get lots of price breaks—at the movies, hairdresser, and on the airlines.Why?How can it be profit maximizing to offer lower prices to some customers?Students love monopoly! Most of your students are taking an economics course because they think it will help them either get a better job or run a better business. Many of your students are aspiring entrepreneurs. You’ve just had them slog through a heavy chapter on perfect competition, the bottom line of which is: The bottom line is miserable. Normal profit maybe the best that many people can achieve but it is not very exciting. This chapter teaches the students how to make a serious entrepreneurial income. Innovate, create a monopoly that produces something that people value much more than the cost of producing it, and price-discriminate as much as possible.The monopoly model as a benchmark. Explain (like you did in the case of perfect competition) that although no real-world industry satisfies the full definition of a monopoly market, the behavior of firms in many real world industries can be predicted by using the monopoly model. Mention that this chapter examines the least competitive end of the spectrum of markets, just like Chapter 11 discussed the most competitive end.
5 Market PowerMarket power and competition are the two forces that operate in most markets.Market power is the ability to influence the market, and in particular the market price, by influencing the total quantity offered for sale.A monopoly is an industry that produces a good or service for which no close substitute exists and in which there is one supplier that is protected from competition by a barrier preventing the entry of new firms.
6 Market Power How Monopoly Arises A monopoly has two key features: No close substitutesBarriers to entryLegal or natural constraints that protect a firm from potential competitors are called barriers to entry.
7 Market PowerThere are two types of barriers to entry: legal and natural.Legal barriers to entry create a legal monopoly, a market in which competition and entry are restricted by the granting of a:Public franchise (like the U.S. Postal Service public franchise to deliver first-class mail).Government license (like a license to practice law or medicine)Patent and copyright
8 Market PowerNatural barriers to entry create a natural monopoly, which is an industry in which one firm can supply the entire market at a lower price than two or more firms can.Figure 12.1 illustrates a natural monopoly.
9 Market PowerOne firm can produce 4 units of output at 5 cents per unit.Two firms can produce 4 units—2 units each—at 10 cents per unit.Four firms can produce 4 units—1 unit each—at 15 cents per unit.
10 Market PowerIn a natural monopoly, economies of scale are so powerful that they are still being achieved even when the entire market demand is met.The ATC curve is still sloping downward when it meets the demand curve.
11 Market Power Monopoly Price-Setting Strategies For a monopoly firm to determine the quantity it sells, it must choose the appropriate price.There are two types of monopoly price-setting strategies:Price discrimination is the practice of selling different units of a good or service for different prices. Many firms price discriminate, but not all of them are monopoly firms.A single-price monopoly is a firm that must sell each unit of its output for the same price to all its customers.
12 A Single-Price Monopoly’s Output and Price Decision Price and Marginal RevenueA monopoly is a price setter, not a price taker like a firm in perfect competition.The reason is that the demand curve for the monopoly’s output is the market demand curve.To sell a larger output, a monopoly must set a lower price.
13 A Single-Price Monopoly’s Output and Price Decision Total revenue, TR, is the price, P, multiplied by the quantity sold, Q.Marginal revenue, MR, is the change in total revenue that results from a one-unit increase in the quantity sold.For a single-price monopoly, marginal revenue is less than price at each level of output. That is,MR < P
14 A Single-Price Monopoly’s Output and Price Decision Now suppose the firm cuts the price to $14 to sell 3 units.It loses $4 of total revenue on the 2 units it was selling at $16 each.And it gains $14 of total revenue on the 3rd unit.So total revenue increases by $10, which is marginal revenue.
15 A Single-Price Monopoly’s Output and Price Decision The marginal revenue curve, MR, passes through the red dot midway between 2 and 3 units and at $10.You can see that MR < P at each quantity.
16 A Single-Price Monopoly’s Output and Price Decision Marginal Revenue and ElasticityA single-price monopoly’s marginal revenue is related to the elasticity of demand for its good:If demand is elastic, a fall in price brings an increase in total revenue.
18 A Single-Price Monopoly’s Output and Price Decision Marginal Revenue and ElasticityThe rise in revenue from the increase in quantity sold outweighs the fall in revenue from the lower price per unit, and MR is positive.Total revenue increases.
19 A Single-Price Monopoly’s Output and Price Decision If demand is inelastic, a fall in price brings a decrease in total revenue.The rise in revenue from the increase in quantity sold is outweighed by the fall in revenue from the lower price per unit, and MR is negative.
20 A Single-Price Monopoly’s Output and Price Decision Total revenue decreases.
21 A Single-Price Monopoly’s Output and Price Decision If demand is unit elastic, a fall in price brings total revenue does not change.The rise in revenue from the increase in quantity sold equals the fall in revenue from the lower price per unit, and MR = 0.Total revenue is maximized when MR = 0.
22 A Single-Price Monopoly’s Output and Price Decision A single-price monopoly never produces an output at which demand is inelastic.If it did produce such an output, the firm could increase total revenue, decrease total cost, and increase economic profit by decreasing output.
23 A Single-Price Monopoly’s Output and Price Decision Price and Output DecisionThe monopoly faces the same types of technology constraints as the competitive firm, but the monopoly faces a different market constraint.The monopoly selects the profit-maximizing level of output in the same manner as a competitive firm, where MR = MC.
24 A Single-Price Monopoly’s Output and Price Decision The monopoly sets its price at the highest level at which it can sell the profit-maximizing quantity.Table 12.1 provides a numerical example to illustrate the profit-maximizing output and price decision.The monopoly may earn an economic profit, even in the long run, because the barriers to entry protect the firm from market entry by competitor firms.
25 A Single-Price Monopoly’s Output and Price Decision Figure 12.4 illustrates the profit-maximizing choices of a single-price monopolist.In part (a), the monopoly sets the quantity produced at the level that maximizes total revenue minus total cost.
26 A Single-Price Monopoly’s Output and Price Decision In part (b), the firm produces the output at which MR = MC and sets the price to sell that quantity.The ATC curve tells us the average cost.The classic monopoly diagramThe classic monopoly diagram, Figure 12.4b provides a good opportunity to tell your students about the contribution of one of the most brilliant economists of the 20th century, Joan Robinson. This diagram first appeared in her book, The Economics of Imperfect Competition, published in 1933 when she was just 30 years old.You can learn more about Joan Robinson at (or use the link on the Economics Place Web site).Women are still not attracted to economics on the scale that they’re attracted to most other disciplines. So the opportunity to talk about an outstanding female economist shouldn’t be lost. Joan Robinson was a formidable debater and reveled in verbal battles, a notable one of which was with Paul Samuelson on one of her visits to MIT. Anxious to make and illustrate a point, Samuelson asked Robinson for the chalk. Monopolizing the chalk and the blackboard, the unyielding Robinson snapped, “Say it in words young man.” Samuelson meekly obeyed. This story illustrates Joan Robinson’s approach to economics: work out the answers to economic problems using the appropriate techniques of math and logic, but then “say it in words.” Don’t be satisfied with formal argument if you don’t understand it. Your students will benefit from this story if you can work it into your class time.Economic profit is the profit per unit multiplied by the quantity produced—the blue rectangle.
27 Single-Price Monopoly and Competition Compared Comparing Output and PriceFigure 12.5 compares the price and quantity in perfect competition and monopoly.The market demand curve, D, in perfect competition is the demand curve that the firm faces in monopoly.
28 Single-Price Monopoly and Competition Compared The market supply curve in perfect competition is the horizontal sum of the individual firm’s marginal cost curves, S = MC.This curve is the monopoly’s marginal cost curve.
29 Single-Price Monopoly and Competition Compared Equilibrium in perfect competition occurs where the quantity demanded equals the quantity supplied at quantity QC and price PC.
30 Single-Price Monopoly and Competition Compared Equilibrium output for a monopoly, QM, occurs where marginal revenue equals marginal cost, MR = MC.Equilibrium price for a monopoly, PM, occurs on the demand curve at the profit-maximizing quantity.
31 Single-Price Monopoly and Competition Compared Because marginal revenue is less than price at each output level, QM < QC and PM > PC.Compared to perfect competition, monopoly restricts output and charges a higher price.
33 Single-Price Monopoly and Competition Compared Efficiency ComparisonMonopoly is inefficient, and Figure 12.6 shows why.The demand curve is the marginal benefit curve, MB, and the competitive market supply curve is the marginal cost curve, MC.So competitive equilibrium is efficient: MB = MC.
34 Single-Price Monopoly and Competition Compared Consumer surplus is the area below the demand curve and above the price.Producer surplus is the area below the price and above the marginal cost curve.The sum of the two surpluses is maximized and the efficient quantity is produced.
35 Single-Price Monopoly and Competition Compared Monopoly is inefficient because price exceeds marginal cost so marginal benefit exceeds marginal cost.On all output levels for which marginal benefit exceeds marginal cost, a deadweight loss is incurred.Monopoly is inefficient. The inefficiency of monopoly is one of the key propositions in this chapter.Because P > MR, and because MR = MC, P > MC—single-price monopoly under-produces and creates deadweight loss.Rent seeking uses further resources so potentially the social cost of monopoly is the sum of the deadweight loss and the economic profit that a monopoly might earn.Adam Smith described the situation thus: “People in the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in some contrivance to raise prices.”
36 Single-Price Monopoly and Competition Compared Redistribution of SurplusesMonopoly redistributes a portion of consumer surplus by changing it to producer surplus.
38 Single-Price Monopoly and Competition Compared Rent SeekingThe social cost of monopoly may exceed the deadweight loss through an activity called rent seeking, which is any attempt to capture consumer surplus, producer surplus, or economic profit.Rent seeking is not confined to a monopoly. There are two forms of rent seeking activity to pursue monopoly:Buy a monopoly—transfers rent to creator of monopoly.Create a monopoly—uses resources in political activity.
39 Single-Price Monopoly and Competition Compared Rent-Seeking EquilibriumThe resources used in rent seeking can exhaust the monopoly’s economic profit and leave the monopoly owner with only normal profit.Figure 12.7 shows the normal profit that result from rent seeking.
40 Single-Price Monopoly and Competition Compared A potential profit shown by the blue area gets used up in rent seeking.Average total cost increases and the profits disappear to become part of the enlarged deadweight loss from rent seeking.
42 Price DiscriminationPrice discrimination is the practice of selling different units of a good or service for different prices.To be able to price discriminate, a monopoly must:Identify and separate different buyer typesSell a product that cannot be resoldPrice differences that arise from cost differences are not price discrimination.Price discrimination may not be fair, but it is efficientBe sure that the students understand that aside from equity considerations, resources will be allocated more efficiently in a monopoly market under any price discrimination scenario than under a single-price scenario.
43 Price Discrimination Price Discrimination and Consumer Surplus Price discrimination converts consumer surplus into economic profit.A monopoly can discriminateAmong units of a good. Quantity discounts are an example. (But quantity discounts that reflect lower costs at higher volumes are not price discrimination.)Among groups of buyers. (Advance purchase and other restrictions on airline tickets are an example.)
44 Price Discrimination Profiting by Price Discriminating Figures 12.8 and 12.9 show the same market with a single price and price discrimination and show how price discrimination converts consumer surplus into economic profit.
45 Price DiscriminationAs a single-price monopolist, this firm maximized profit by producing 8 units, where MR = MC and selling them for $1,200 each.
46 Price DiscriminationBy price discriminating, the firm can increase its profit.In doing so, it converts consumer surplus into economic profit.
47 Price Discrimination Perfect Price Discrimination Perfect price discrimination extracts the entire potential consumer surplus and converts it to economic profit.
48 Price Discrimination With perfect price discrimination: Output increases to the quantity at which price equals marginal costEconomic profit increases above that earned by a single-price monopoly.Deadweight loss is eliminated
49 Price DiscriminationThe airlines have perfected price discrimination.
50 Price DiscriminationEfficiency and Rent Seeking with Price DiscriminationThe more perfectly a monopoly can price discriminate, the closer its output gets to the competitive output (P = MC) and the more efficient is the outcome.But this outcome differs from the outcome of perfect competition in two ways:The monopoly captures the entire consumer surplus.The increase in economic profit attracts even more rent-seeking activity that leads to an inefficient use of resources.
51 Monopoly Policy Issues Gains from MonopolyA single-price monopoly creates inefficiency and price discriminating monopoly captures consumer surplus and converts it into producer surplus and economic profit.And monopoly encourages rent-seeking, which wastes resources.But monopoly brings benefits.A quick introductionThe treatment of monopoly policy here is brief and designed for the instructor who wants to cover the topic briefly and at this point in the course. Chapter 17 provides a more extensive treatment of regulation and antitrust law. You can cover that chapter, in whole or part, right now if you want to do more on the topic.
52 Monopoly Policy Issues Product innovationPatents and copyrights provide protection from competition and let the monopoly enjoy the profits stemming from innovation for a longer period of time.Economies of scale and scopeWhere economies of scale or scope exist, a monopoly can produce at a lower average total cost than what a large number of competitive firms could achieve.
53 Monopoly Policy Issues Regulating Natural MonopolyWhen demand and cost conditions create natural monopoly, government agencies regulate the monopoly.Figure shows how a natural monopoly might be regulated.
54 Monopoly Policy Issues With no regulation, the monopoly maximizes profit.It produces the quantity at which marginal revenue equals marginal cost.
55 Monopoly Policy Issues Regulating a natural monopoly in the public interest sets output where MB = MC and the price equal to marginal cost.This regulation is the marginal cost pricing rule, and it results in an efficient use of resources.
56 Monopoly Policy Issues With price equal to marginal cost, ATC exceeds price and the monopoly incurs an economic loss.If the monopoly receives a subsidy to cover its loss, taxes must be imposed on other economic activity, which create deadweight loss
57 Monopoly Policy Issues Where possible, a regulated natural monopoly might be permitted to price discriminate to cover the loss from marginal cost pricing.Another alternative is to produce the quantity at which price equals average total cost and to set the price equal to average total cost—the average cost pricing rule.