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written by | September 6, 2022

Meaning, Features and Types of Imperfect Competition

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Edward Hastings Chamberlin and Joan Robinson introduced imperfect competition. Instead of the ideal competitive market scenario, imperfect competition occurs when numerous suppliers offer a variety of commodities. 

In an imperfectly competitive market, sellers are free to choose their prices for goods and services in a competitive market as they struggle for market share. Additionally, it raises the entry and exit restrictions for current market participants. As a result, both buyers and sellers in such markets are able to profit from the market price of goods.

Did you know?

Edward Hastings Chamberlin was an American economist whose work focused on imperfect competition and industrial monopolies. During the mid-twentieth century, he was regarded as one of the most influential American economists.

What Is Imperfect Competition?

Imperfect competition is a market with non-competitive vendors. These markets have a variety of products, target customers, and market niches that businesses can operate in. In this case, sellers have the exclusive authority to determine the fair market value of the commodities they are offering. In the areas where they operate, they can decide the same without the consent of a higher authority. To put it another way, each seller follows its own price-output policy.

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Advantages of Imperfect Competition

  • A more significant price can be imposed on the products, producing more profits.
  • Barriers keep other businesses out of the market and away from the competition.
  • Due to the lack of competition, sellers have a tremendous influence on the market and generate large profits for their businesses and economies.
  • Sellers can agree on prices and locations, which opens the door to the prospect of sharing products on the market.

Disadvantages of Imperfect Competition

  • Prices that increase dramatically risk driving away customers and causing the product to fail on the market.
  • Due to its prices in the market, it is a sort of economy in which the government continuously intervenes.
  • As there are fewer sellers and everyone is knowledgeable, there is severe competition among them.
  • Collaboration between businesses is necessary to increase demand.

Differences between Perfect and Imperfect Competition

Perfect Competition

Imperfect Competition

  1. In a market with perfect competition, many businesses manufacture the same kinds of goods.
  1. A market type known as imperfect competition allows for the possibility of identical or distinctive products being produced by the vendors.
  1. A small fraction of the entire supply is under the control of each firm.

2. Each vendor may have a greater or lesser degree of control over the total supply.

  1. Each seller and buyer is well aware of the state of the market.

3. It's possible that neither the buyer nor the seller fully understands the state of the market.

  1. Each vendor sets its own price.

4. Each vendor sets its own prices.

  1. In a market with perfect competition, there are no types.

5. Monopolies, oligopolies, monopolistic competition, etc., are all examples of imperfect markets.

The Other Differences

  • In perfect competition, many businesses compete with one another on price. There are few firms in imperfect competition, and there is only competition for a target portion of the modest demand for each firm's product.
  • Each buyer and seller in perfect competition has complete knowledge of the state of the market. There is concern that a company would lose all of its consumers if it wanted to charge a price that is greater than what is currently being charged in the market. Due to ignorance and devotion to the company and its product, this is not the case under imperfect competition.
  • In a market with perfect competition, each firm has relatively little control over the overall market. While in perfect competition, each firm is a price-taker and quantity adjuster. In imperfect competition, each firm is a price-maker since it significantly impacts the supply of goods.

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  • In perfect competition, the marginal cost is equal to both the marginal revenue and the average revenue for both short and long periods. As a result, at the equilibrium: Average Revenue - Marginal Revenue equals Average Cost - Marginal Cost.
  • While in imperfect competition, the demand curve dips downward, in perfect competition, it is horizontal to the X-axis. Both Average Revenue and Marginal Revenue have a negative slope that is downward.

About Perfect Competition:

Perfect competition is a theoretical idea that only exists in economics textbooks, not in real life. This is because it is not attainable in reality. Theoretically, in a market with perfect competition, resources would be distributed among businesses fairly and evenly, and there wouldn't be any monopolies. Every company would sell the same goods and have a similar understanding of the market. There would be many buyers and sellers in this market, and supply and demand would help keep prices consistent.

These conditions must exist in a market for there to be perfect competition:

  • Similar goods are sold by businesses.
  • In a situation where supply and demand control prices.
  • Implying that businesses are powerless to influence market prices for their goods.
  • Comparable market shares between businesses.
  • All purchasers have access to complete information about prices and items.
  • A sector with few or no barriers to entry or exit.

Types of Imperfect Markets

Monopolistic:

When numerous vendors offer comparable goods that aren't necessarily substitutes, monopolistic competition ensues. Product differentiation is the primary factor that enables businesses to achieve higher profit margins in this highly competitive industry. A crucial component of monopolistic competition is advertising. Consumers can be persuaded by advertising that products in the same product category differ from one another. Pricing power is based on how much the market engages in product differentiation.

Despite low entry barriers and price-setting by the firms in this structure, a company's general business decisions do not affect its competitors. Fast food establishments like McDonald's and Burger King are examples. Despite being in direct competition, they provide identical goods that cannot be replaced.

Oligopoly:

An oligopoly market has higher entrance barriers than a monopolistic market. A few companies have most of the market share, defining oligopoly marketplaces. These businesses also depend on one another for pricing decisions, so if one firm changes its prices, its rivals will follow suit. The company will lose clients and market share if the price modification is not implemented immediately. The likelihood of corporate collaboration is relatively high in these marketplaces because so few enterprises operate there. As a result, business profit margins improve, and risks associated with future cash flow are reduced. 

In an oligopoly, there are many buyers but few sellers. The oil business, grocery chains, wireless service providers and tyre manufacturers are a few examples of oligopolies. As a small number of companies control the market, they could prohibit others from entering the industry. Companies in this market system decide how much to charge for goods and services either jointly or, in a cartel, individually if one company takes the initiative.

Monopoly:

As the name implies, in a monopoly market, there are considerable obstacles to entry for competing businesses, and just one firm controls the whole market. The production of highly specialised items that no other company can have, resulting in the absence of competition, distinguishes a monopoly. There are numerous causes for the formation of monopoly corporations, including patents and copyrights. Companies that invest in product development and research are rewarded with patents and copyright.

Monopsony:

In a monopsony market, a single buyer makes up a significant portion of the total volume of products and services purchased. Since there is only one buyer and many sellers, buyers have a substantial amount of market influence. In some instances, buyers set prices rather than sellers. The market for production services, or factors, such as labour capital, land, and the raw materials necessary to manufacture products, is where a monopsony buyer's power typically resides.

Also read: What Is Business Structure & Learn How to Choose a Business Structure

Characteristics of Imperfect Competition

  • The high price of the products may put obstacles in the way of their market penetration.
  • The prices of the goods can vary depending on who is selling them.
  • To enter the market, significant capital investments are required.
  • Customers view the goods available in the imperfect competition as being unique. 
  • It has a small number of businesses, which offsets the lower market rate. However, the knowledge buyers and sellers have about it differs.
  • Since sellers control product pricing, prices are frequently exceedingly high.
  • To enter the market, significant capital investments are required.

Imperfect Competition Examples

Listed below are businesses operating on the imperfect competition market principle. 

  • Gas companies
  • Microsoft
  • PepsiCo
  • Nike
  • McDonald’s
  • Google
  • Visa
  • Mars

Evolution of Imperfect Competition

In his 1838 book, ‘Researches into the Mathematical Principles of the Theory of Wealth’, the French mathematician Augustin Cournot laid the groundwork for how perfect competition models are treated in economics and contemporary notions of monopoly. Furthermore, the Swiss economist Leon Walras, often regarded as the father of modern mathematical economics, accepted and popularised many of his theories. 

Before the work of Walras and Cournot, mathematicians had problems modelling economic relationships or creating precise equations. The new perfect competition model reduces economic competition to a simple, static, and predictive condition. This prevented several issues common in primary markets, such as monopolies, imprecise human knowledge, and entry barriers. The mathematical method was widely accepted in academia, especially in England. Any departure from the new theory of perfect competition was regarded as a problematic breach of the new idea of economics.

Also read: What is Business Equity? Learn What is Equity Meaning in Business

Conclusion:

Market characteristics that make a market less than completely competitive and lead to inefficiencies that cause financial losses are called imperfect competition. Several suppliers of identical or comparable goods and services in a market result in perfect competition.

Companies in this economy compete for market share, sell various goods and services, determine their prices, and are frequently protected by obstacles to entry and exit. Market structures, including monopolies, oligopolies, monopolistic competition, monopsonies, and oligopsony, exhibit imperfect competition regularly. Most economists concur that a perfect match is improbable in real-world markets, but they dispute how significantly this affects market outcomes.

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FAQs

Q: Does ideal competition exist among a variety of goods?

Ans:

A hypothetical market system is referred to as perfect competition. There are no monopolies under the scenario of an ideal match. This system has several crucial aspects, including every company selling the same goods.

Q: Who introduced imperfect competition?

Ans:

The Theory of Monopolistic Competition by American economist Edward Hastings Chamberlin and the Economics of Imperfect Competition by British economist Joan Robinson introduced imperfect competition.

Q: What are the two key characteristics of imperfect competition?

Ans:

The key characteristics include fewer buyers and sellers, with strong obstacles set in place for entry and exit.

Q: What does marginal revenue mean in an imperfect market?

Ans:

Both the Average Revenue Curve and the Marginal Revenue Curve slope downhill from left to right in the market with imperfect competition. Additionally, the Marginal Revenue curve is consistently lower than the Average Revenue curve. Marginal revenue may eventually reach zero and ultimately turn negative. Average revenue, however, will always be positive.

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The information, product and services provided on this website are provided on an “as is” and “as available” basis without any warranty or representation, express or implied. Khatabook Blogs are meant purely for educational discussion of financial products and services. Khatabook does not make a guarantee that the service will meet your requirements, or that it will be uninterrupted, timely and secure, and that errors, if any, will be corrected. The material and information contained herein is for general information purposes only. Consult a professional before relying on the information to make any legal, financial or business decisions. Use this information strictly at your own risk. Khatabook will not be liable for any false, inaccurate or incomplete information present on the website. Although every effort is made to ensure that the information contained in this website is updated, relevant and accurate, Khatabook makes no guarantees about the completeness, reliability, accuracy, suitability or availability with respect to the website or the information, product, services or related graphics contained on the website for any purpose. Khatabook will not be liable for the website being temporarily unavailable, due to any technical issues or otherwise, beyond its control and for any loss or damage suffered as a result of the use of or access to, or inability to use or access to this website whatsoever.
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Disclaimer :
The information, product and services provided on this website are provided on an “as is” and “as available” basis without any warranty or representation, express or implied. Khatabook Blogs are meant purely for educational discussion of financial products and services. Khatabook does not make a guarantee that the service will meet your requirements, or that it will be uninterrupted, timely and secure, and that errors, if any, will be corrected. The material and information contained herein is for general information purposes only. Consult a professional before relying on the information to make any legal, financial or business decisions. Use this information strictly at your own risk. Khatabook will not be liable for any false, inaccurate or incomplete information present on the website. Although every effort is made to ensure that the information contained in this website is updated, relevant and accurate, Khatabook makes no guarantees about the completeness, reliability, accuracy, suitability or availability with respect to the website or the information, product, services or related graphics contained on the website for any purpose. Khatabook will not be liable for the website being temporarily unavailable, due to any technical issues or otherwise, beyond its control and for any loss or damage suffered as a result of the use of or access to, or inability to use or access to this website whatsoever.