A monopoly exists when a single firm dominates an entire market for a particular product or service, giving it significant market power.
Updated: Jun 25, 2024

3 Key Takeaways

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  • Market Control: One firm controls the market without significant competition.
  • Price Setting: The monopolist has the ability to set prices due to lack of substitutes.
  • Barriers to Entry: High barriers prevent new firms from entering the market.

What is Monopoly?

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A monopoly is a market structure in which a single seller or producer supplies a unique product or service that has no close substitutes. This gives the monopolist considerable control over the market, including the ability to influence prices and output levels.

Importance of Monopoly

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  • Market Power: Monopolies can set higher prices and earn economic profits in the long run.
  • Innovation: Some monopolies invest in research and development to maintain their market dominance.
  • Efficiency Concerns: Monopolies may restrict output to maximize profits, leading to potential allocative inefficiency.

Characteristics of Monopoly

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  • Single Seller: Only one firm supplies the entire market demand.
  • Unique Product: No close substitutes are available to consumers.
  • Price Maker: Sets prices to maximize profit, considering demand and cost conditions.
  • High Barriers: Barriers to entry, such as patents, economies of scale, or control over essential resources, prevent new competitors.

How Monopoly Works

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Profit Maximization

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  • Price Discrimination: Charging different prices to different groups of consumers based on their willingness to pay.
  • Output Decision: Choosing the level of production that maximizes profits, considering marginal cost and marginal revenue.

Market Behavior

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  • Market Expansion: Exploiting economies of scale to lower costs and increase profit margins.
  • Regulation: Government intervention to prevent abuse of market power and protect consumer interests.

Examples of Monopoly

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  • Utilities: Local electricity or water companies that are the sole providers in their regions.
  • Patented Pharmaceuticals: Companies with exclusive rights to produce and sell specific drugs.
  • Local Services: Cable companies or ISPs in areas with limited competition.

Real World Application

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  • Antitrust Regulation: Governments regulate monopolies to prevent abuse of market power, promote competition, and protect consumer welfare.
  • Market Efficiency: Monopolies may innovate and invest in technology but can also restrict output to maintain profit margins.
  • Consumer Impact: Consumers may face higher prices and limited choices in monopolized markets, impacting affordability and access.


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Monopolies represent a significant market structure where a single firm controls the supply of a unique product or service. While they can lead to innovation and economies of scale, monopolies also raise concerns about market power, consumer welfare, and economic efficiency. Understanding the dynamics of monopolies is crucial for policymakers, economists, and consumers to balance market competition with regulatory oversight and promote fair and efficient markets.

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Arti is a specialized AI Financial Assistant at Invezz, created to support the editorial team. He leverages both AI and the knowledge base, understands over 100,000... read more.