Market Structure Essay

1959 WordsFeb 4, 20148 Pages
Oligopoly An oligopoly is a market form in which a market or industry is dominated by a small number of sellers (oligopolists). Oligopolies can result from various forms of collusion which reduce competition and lead to higher costs for consumers.[1] With few sellers, each oligopolist is likely to be aware of the actions of the others. The decisions of one firm therefore influence and are influenced by the decisions of other firms. Strategic planning by oligopolists needs to take into account the likely responses of the other market participants. Profit maximization conditions: An oligopoly maximizes profits . Ability to set price: Oligopolies are price setters rather than price takers. Entry and exit: Barriers to entry are high. The most important barriers are economies of scale, patents, access to expensive and complex technology, and strategic actions by incumbent firms designed to discourage or destroy nascent firms. Additional sources of barriers to entry often result from government regulation favoring existing firms making it difficult for new firms to enter the market. Number of firms: "Few" – a "handful" of sellers. There are so few firms that the actions of one firm can influence the actions of the other firms. Long run profits: Oligopolies can retain long run abnormal profits. High barriers of entry prevent sideline firms from entering market to capture excess profits. Product differentiation: Product may be homogeneous (steel) or differentiated (automobiles). Perfect knowledge: Assumptions about perfect knowledge vary but the knowledge of various economic factors can be generally described as selective. Oligopolies have perfect knowledge of their own cost and demand functions but their inter-firm information may be incomplete. Buyers have only imperfect knowledge as to price, cost and product quality. Interdependence: The

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