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Unlike a monopoly, with its high barriers to entry, a monopolistically competitive firm with positive economic profits will attract competition. When another competitor enters the market, the original firm’s perceived demand curve shifts to the left, from D 0 to D 1 , and the associated marginal revenue curve shifts from MR 0 to MR 1 . The new profit-maximizing output is Q 1 , because the intersection of the MR 1 and MC now occurs at point U. Moving vertically up from that quantity on the new demand curve, the optimal price is at P 1 .

As long as the firm    is earning positive economic profits, new competitors will continue to enter the market, reducing the original firm’s demand and marginal revenue curves. The long-run equilibrium    is shown in the figure at point Y, where the firm’s perceived demand curve touches the average cost curve. When price is equal to average cost, economic profits are zero. Thus, although a monopolistically competitive firm may earn positive economic profits in the short term, the process of new entry will drive down economic profits to zero in the long run. Remember that zero economic profit is not equivalent to zero accounting profit    . A zero economic profit means the firm’s accounting profit is equal to what its resources could earn in their next best use. [link] (b) shows the reverse situation, where a monopolistically competitive firm is originally losing money. The adjustment to long-run equilibrium is analogous to the previous example. The economic losses lead to firms exiting, which will result in increased demand for this particular firm, and consequently lower losses. Firms exit up to the point where there are no more losses in this market, for example when the demand curve touches the average cost curve, as in point Z.

Monopolistic competitors can make an economic profit or loss in the short run, but in the long run, entry and exit will drive these firms toward a zero economic profit outcome. However, the zero economic profit outcome in monopolistic competition looks different from the zero economic profit outcome in perfect competition in several ways relating both to efficiency and to variety in the market.

Monopolistic competition and efficiency

The long-term result of entry and exit in a perfectly competitive market is that all firms end up selling at the price level determined by the lowest point on the average cost curve. This outcome is why perfect competition displays productive efficiency    : goods are being produced at the lowest possible average cost. However, in monopolistic competition, the end result of entry and exit is that firms end up with a price that lies on the downward-sloping portion of the average cost curve, not at the very bottom of the AC curve. Thus, monopolistic competition will not be productively efficient.

In a perfectly competitive market, each firm produces at a quantity where price is set equal to marginal cost, both in the short run and in the long run. This outcome is why perfect competition displays allocative efficiency: the social benefits of additional production, as measured by the marginal benefit, which is the same as the price, equal the marginal costs to society of that production. In a monopolistically competitive market, the rule for maximizing profit is to set MR = MC—and price is higher than marginal revenue, not equal to it because the demand curve is downward sloping. When P>MC, which is the outcome in a monopolistically competitive market, the benefits to society of providing additional quantity, as measured by the price that people are willing to pay, exceed the marginal costs to society of producing those units. A monopolistically competitive firm does not produce more, which means that society loses the net benefit of those extra units. This is the same argument we made about monopoly, but in this case to a lesser degree. Thus, a monopolistically competitive industry will produce a lower quantity of a good and charge a higher price for it than would a perfectly competitive industry. See the following Clear It Up feature for more detail on the impact of demand shifts.

Questions & Answers

what is choice?
Hilma Reply
Suppose a country with fixed quantities of resources is able to produce any of the following combinations of bread and ovens;
opoku Reply
willingness and ability to buy at a market price at time specified
Joel Reply
discuss the meaning of demand in economic
Usman Reply
the willingness and ability to buy a commodity
just try to elucidate
Aadil Reply
just try to elucidate something
would you explain
what is elasticity, perfectly elastic, inelastic
Rue Reply
When 01 the demand is elastic
when demand curve is horizental the curve is perfectly elastic ...when demand curve is vertical then it is perfectly inelastic
elasticity means that percentage change in quantity demanded due to percentage change in price
Refers to the level or degree of sensitivity quantity demanded has in my relationship to a change in price
introduction to elasticity of demand
Dalhatu Reply
what is price commonly called in the labour market
Explain demand curve
price in labour market is Marginal Physical Productivity...
what is the price of elasticity of demand
Mahesh Reply
it is the responsiveness of a certain good. and it is calculated as follows: PED=%change in quantity demanded /%change in price
what is per capita income
Kafwimbi Reply
what is GDP of an economy
Gross Domestic Product
What are the factors that drive exchange rates?
Why is scarcity the main problem of economics
Nicholas Reply
Because of unlimited needs and wants demanded by the household
what is GDP deflator?
Because of endless needs and wants required to achieve maximum satisfaction possible by consumers
how to calculate price elasticity demand?
Precious Reply
change in quantity over quantity divided by change in price over price
Percentage change in quantity demanded over the percentage change in price
if the local pizzeria raises the price of a medium pizza from Rd.60to 100 & quantity demanded falls from 700 pizzas a night to 100 pizzas at night , the price elasticity of demand for pizzas is:
Lakshmi Reply
1.2. Measurement of price Elasticity of demand
Lakshmi tell me how wrong am I coz I see you've got different answer from mine?
explain how price and output are determind by a discriminating monopolist
Hiraj Reply
price and output determined through interaction between demand curve and supply curve...
how do I view the graphs
Patricia Reply
how do I open the links

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Source:  OpenStax, Microeconomics. OpenStax CNX. Aug 03, 2014 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11627/1.10
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