The Advantages And Disadvantages Of A Monopoly Economics

Table of Content

Markets are the bosom and psyche of a capitalist or free market economic system which is based on the impression of competition. Changing grades of competition finally lead to different market constructions with different results to the market. The chief market constructions are perfect competition, monopolistic competition, oligopoly and monopoly, each with a different result to the market which leads economic experts to see some market structures to be more desirable for the society such as perfect competition while others are less desirable such as Monopoly.

It is frequently argued that monopoly restricts competition through entry barriers and therefore should be forbidden. This is supported by a strong instance against monopoly as it restricts consumer pick and prevents little advanced concerns from being established. In add-on, a monopoly will bring forth at a lower end product and charge higher monetary values than a competitory market, with the same cost construction. This leads to a loss of economic public assistance and efficiency. However, if monopolies are ever assumed bad so inquiries of why houses seek to be monopolies and why authoritiess accept or tolerate monopolistic houses will lift.

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In theory monopoly is a market with merely one marketer that dominates and sets monetary value and measure of the good. The market ‘s demand curve is the house ‘s demand curve and it is assumed that there are no replacements and therefore a house is a price-maker that is motivated by net income maximization and is supported by restrictive barriers to entry of the market that later prevents competition.

In world it is difficult to happen a market in which some signifier of utility house or merchandise does non be. Therefore, the Competition Commission in the UK defines a market as a monopoly if there is a steadfast possessing over a 25 % market portion and confronting no important competition.

In order to measure monopoly and to find whether it should be allowed or non, it is critical to understand the features of monopoly and to use assorted efficiency constructs such as productive efficiency, allocative efficiency and X-efficiency to both extremes of the market construction, perfect competition and monopoly, to understand their consequence on both consumer and manufacturer excess in the signifier of families and houses which accordingly affect the general economic public assistance.

2.0 Features of Monopoly

There are assorted features of monopoly but it is chiefly distinguished from other market constructions by its barriers to entry. These barriers are a assortment of obstructions or boundaries that prevent other houses from interrupting into the monopolistic house ‘s market, therefore leting the monopolistic house to keep its monopoly and hence continue to gain supranormal net incomes.

Sloman ( 2010 ) suggests that barriers to the entry of new houses are a must for an bing house to keep its monopoly place. There are a figure of entry barriers that would be in a market in different signifiers such as economic systems of graduated table, economic systems of range, legal patents, licenses, merchandise distinction and high start-up costs.

Economies of graduated table are considered as one major barrier, this occurs when a decrease in unit costs depends on the end product size. In such instance, a big house is most efficient and new houses can non afford to come in the market and addition market portions. The industry may non be able to suit more than one manufacturer which is known as natural monopoly. This is the instance with public public-service corporations such as H2O, gas, electricity where these houses have economic systems of graduated table to forestall new houses from come ining the market.

Economies of range is another barrier as houses who produce a scope of merchandises are likely to accomplish lower norm costs of production and undercut monetary values to drive new houses out of the market. Proctor & A ; Gamble enjoys economic systems of range as it produces 100s of merchandises but could afford to engage expensive skilled workers and experts who can utilize their accomplishments across the merchandise line and hence spread the costs and lower the mean entire cost for each merchandise. ( Alesina and Spolaore, 2005 )

Patents and licenses are besides considered chief entry barriers. The US Patent and Trademark office issues patents for 20 old ages period, in conformity with the 1995 GATT understanding. ( USPTO, 1995 )

These patents give an discoverer the sole right to bring forth a merchandise for a 20 old ages period such as the instance of the pharmaceutical giant, Pfizer, which has a patent on Viagra until 2014. ( Stevens, 2007 )

Similarly, licenses are granted by authoritiess which allow one or a few houses to run in a specific market under authorities ordinances and control.

Product distinction and trade name trueness where a house produces a differentiated merchandise and the consumer associates that merchandise with the trade name.

An illustration of merchandise distinction would be the auto industry, where different houses would bring forth replacements but they are non considered as perfect replacements as required in perfect competition, so each house would hold some signifier of monopoly power in its merchandise class. This is clearly apparent in the luxury athletics autos market such as Ferrari, Porsche and Lotus.

Other signifiers of entry barriers may include high start-up costs for new houses in comparing with an established monopoly house which is likely to hold gained adequate experience and efficiency techniques to be able to cut down costs and hence monetary values for any possible new houses to be able to vie.

Based on the features of monopoly, it is of import to measure its economic efficiency and therefore its consequence on consumer excess and societal public assistance in general. In the following subdivision, we compare the economic efficiency of both extremes of the market construction.

3.0 Economic efficiency

In economic footings, monopoly and perfect competition should be judged on the extent to which they contribute to bettering the human well-being and societal public assistance, hence, it is of import to measure whether the market construction is efficient or inefficient.

Nellis and Parker ( 2006 ) point out that the success or failure of houses is straight affected by the extent to which they are managed expeditiously. The lower the cost per unit of end product, without cut downing the quality of the merchandise, the higher the economic efficiency of a house.

This is apparent in a competitory market where houses strive to be economically efficient in order to last. However, this is non the instance in a monopoly which is by and large considered as an inefficient market construction. This can be clarified by the undermentioned analysis of assorted economic footings of efficiency.

3.1 Allocative efficiency

Assuming an initial distribution of income and wealth, allocative efficiency occurs at the point when it is impossible to better overall economic public assistance by reapportioning resources between markets.

For the whole economic system to be allocatively efficient, monetary value must be fringy cost in every market. However, it is improbable that a monopoly seeking net income maximization would be allocatively efficient. A monopoly tends to curtail end product below the market equilibrium to coerce up the monetary values.


Welfare loss

MR AR=Industry demand=MU

Q2 Q1 Output

Figure 1 – Allocative inefficiency and public assistance loss

Figure 1 demonstrates how a monopoly is allocatively inefficient. While a absolutely competitory market would hold an end product Q1 where the monetary value P is equal to both MC and MU based on demand curve so all units produced add more to welfare ( MU ) than the resources they cost to do ( MC ) . A monopolizer is in equilibrium with an end product Q2 where MC=MR, which means some units that would hold been benefited society are no longer produced and therefore an overall public assistance loss.

3.2 Productive efficiency

This can merely be achieved if a house uses the available techniques and factors of production at the lowest possible cost per unit of end product. Lipsey ( 1992 ) states that in the context of an industry, the reading of productive efficiency is that houses are runing so that costs are minimized.

In monopoly, in contrast to hone competition, there are no competitory forces that would do a house clasp costs down to a lower limit.






Q2 Q1 Output

Figure 2 – Productive efficiency

Figure 2 illustrates the fruitfully efficient end product Q1 which is the minimal point of the AC curve where unit cost is C1, where the least sum of scarce resources possible are being used per unit of end product. However, a monopolizer will bring forth the net income maximising end product Q2 with higher costs C2 per unit which can be passed to the consumer, therefore showing productive inefficiency.


The construct of x-efficiency requires that the lowest possible monetary values are paid for inputs or factors of production. However, there is less incentive for a monopoly to do full usage of the available engineering, chiefly due to miss of competition.

Monopolies are more likely to be technically and fruitfully inefficient, incurring unneeded production costs and otiose resources.

A house could be using excessively many workers or puting in machines that are ne’er used, holding it technically inefficient. It could be paying its workers unneeded high rewards or purchasing capital or natural stuff at unneeded high monetary values.

This means that the monopolizer ‘s LRAC is above that which would be technically possible, therefore resources are wasted.


LRAC monopoly

LRAC possible

= X-inefficiency

End product

Figure 3 – X-efficiency spread

The x-inefficiency spread, as shown in figure 3, is considered as unneeded production costs that a house can cut down.

In a absolutely competitory market, a house must extinguish any signifier of x-inefficiency in order to last and do normal net incomes.

However, this is non the instance with monopoly, which are able to last while incurring unneeded production costs and doing satisfactory instead than maximal net incomes.

The rating of economic efficiency of a monopoly compared to hone competition has highlighted a figure of disadvantages to back up economic experts ‘ instance against monopolistic houses.

4.0 Disadvantages of Monopoly

In general, a monopolistic market construction would bring forth less end product and charge higher monetary values which leads to a diminution in consumer excess and a deadweight public assistance loss. The higher monetary values would take to allocative inefficiency and supranormal net incomes, taking to cut down benefits to consumers and unequal distribution of income.

This besides raises a inquiry about equity. The higher monetary values would work low income consumers and their buying power might be transferred to stockholders in the signifier of dividends taking once more to unequal distribution of income.

A monopoly tends to be less motivated towards economic efficiency such as cutting costs or increasing productiveness. There is besides a possibility that a monopoly would see diseconomies of graduated table as the higher it gets bigger, their mean costs addition. Further more, the deficiency of competition could deter a monopoly from puting in research and development, taking to deficiency of invention and worse merchandises.

However, with all the grounds against monopoly, there are still the inquiries of why do monopolies still exist, why houses seek to be monopolies and why do authoritiess look to digest them?

5.0 Advantages of monopoly

On economic footings, perfect competition is by and large regarded as more desirable than monopoly. However, monopolies are non needfully bad, sing they are as extremely motivated and public-spirited as competitory industries.

Economic theory assumes that everyone is motivated by opportunism ; this applies to competitory markets every bit good as to monopolies.

Firms in competitory markets would draw a bead on to be a monopoly by extinguishing competition but this is improbable achieved due to market forces and the absence of barriers to entry and issue.

The fact that monopolies make supranormal net incomes allows them to put in research and development and allows them to fund high cost investing disbursement into new engineering. This is likely to ensue, if successful, in improved merchandises and lower costs on the long tally.

An advanced monopoly could hence be considered dynamically efficient over a long term as it reaps the wages of investing in research and development. Microsoft did non get down as a monopoly but the debut of Windows version 3.0 in 1990 followed by assorted Microsoft Office applications provided the market power to go a monopoly. Its place as a monopoly was farther cemented by the uninterrupted investing in research and development.

It is by and large argued that monopoly in high engineering sectors is good as it provides houses with a greater inducement to put in research and development. Patents for new thoughts are usually acceptable as it encourages houses to fund the initial research and development and it allows these houses to reimburse their investing.

Another advantage of monopoly is economic systems of graduated table. An increased end product would take to a lessening in mean costs of production, which can be passed to consumers in the signifier of lower monetary values. Likewise, cutting monetary values would be an advantage for a monopoly as it would increase gross revenues and maximise economic systems of graduated table.


S ( Perf comp ) =iˆ i?“i??C



LRMC ( monopoly )

D industry

Qpc Qm

MR ( monopoly )

Figure 4 – Market equilibrium under monopoly

Figure 4 shows the market equilibrium in perfect competition at end product Qpc and supply = demand. A monopoly would bring forth economic systems of graduated table on the long tally and drive down fringy costs to LRMC. A monopoly would hence be able bring forth a net income maximising end product Qm at a monetary value Pm which is lower than perfect competition. Net incomes and consumer excess are higher under monopoly and both consumer and manufacturer would profit.

Kerr and Gaisford ( 2008 ) highlight the impact of international trade on domestic trade and the demand for a domestic monopoly capable of bring forthing the economic systems of graduated table required to vie in the international market. BT is a good illustration of domestic monopoly in the eightiess that had to put in systems and engineering to be able to vie in the international market. Besides, the menace of international imports would coerce a domestic monopoly to put fringy gross equal to fringy cost and cut downing its monetary values, which is a encouragement to consumer excess and societal public assistance.

6. 0 Decision

Despite the fact that monopoly produces less end product at higher monetary values and the negative deductions on consumer excess and societal public assistance, however, the being of monopolies are inevitable every bit long as houses seek net income maximization every bit good as increased market portion and finally market laterality.

In a free market economic system, the opportunities of supranormal net incomes will finally promote other houses to try to interrupt into a monopolistic market. The menace of competition or even a fiscal menace of a coup d’etat will coerce a monopoly to go extremely economic efficient. The American economic expert William Baumol argues in his theory of contestable markets that a monopoly may be forced over clip to do the same production and pricing determinations as a competitory market would, simply due to the possibility of future competition. ( Griffiths and Ison, 2001 )

From the above analysis, it is easy to reason that perfect competition is fruitfully more efficient than monopoly. However, if we take into history the significant economic systems of graduated table that a monopoly would hold, so it is more likely that a monopoly is more fruitfully efficient than competition. In some instances, such as a natural monopoly, it is more acceptable to hold merely one house as a monopoly provided that its monetary value and productiveness are regulated.

Von Mises ( 1966 ) concludes that the mere being of monopoly does non intend anything. The publishing house of a copyright book is a monopolizer, but he may non be able to sell a individual transcript, no affair how low the monetary value he asks. Not every monetary value at which a monopolizer sells a monopolized trade good is a monopA­oly monetary value. Monopoly monetary values are merely monetary values at which it is more advantageous for the monopolizer to curtail the entire sum to be sold than to spread out gross revenues to the bound which a competitory market would let.

Although monopoly is non desirable as it restricts competition and causes a decrease in consumer excess and societal public assistance, it is nevertheless inevitable in a existent concern market that a house would frequently take advantage of its strong market place to command the supply of goods or services. Monopolies are non illegal but their maltreatment of market power to restrict competition is illegal and therefore actions by authoritiess to modulate the market would be required.

Finally, all houses are concerned with finding the monetary value degree that would give them sufficient net income while keeping the consumer ‘s attractive force and demand. This should work in the benefit of consumers and the society if ordinances are in topographic point for authoritiess to step in when a house abuses its monopoly power to the hurt of consumers.

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The Advantages And Disadvantages Of A Monopoly Economics. (2017, Jul 08). Retrieved from

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