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By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Explain the significance of differentiated products
  • Describe how a monopolistic competitor chooses price and quantity
  • Discuss entry, exit, and efficiency as they pertain to monopolistic competition
  • Analyze how advertising can impact monopolistic competition

Monopolistic competition involves many firms competing against each other, but selling products that are distinctive in some way. Examples include stores that sell different styles of clothing; restaurants or grocery stores that sell different kinds of food; and even products like golf balls or beer that may be at least somewhat similar but differ in public perception because of advertising and brand names. There are over 600,000 restaurants in the United States. When products are distinctive, each firm has a mini-monopoly on its particular style or flavor or brand name. However, firms producing such products must also compete with other styles and flavors and brand names. The term “monopolistic competition” captures this mixture of mini-monopoly and tough competition, and the following Clear It Up feature introduces its derivation.

Who invented the theory of imperfect competition?

The theory of imperfect competition was developed by two economists independently but simultaneously in 1933. The first was Edward Chamberlin of Harvard University who published The Economics of Monopolistic Competition . The second was Joan Robinson of Cambridge University who published The Economics of Imperfect Competition . Robinson subsequently became interested in macroeconomics where she became a prominent Keynesian, and later a post-Keynesian economist. (See the Welcome to Economics! and The Keynesian Perspective chapters for more on Keynes.)

Differentiated products

A firm can try to make its products different from those of its competitors in several ways: physical aspects of the product, location from which the product is sold, intangible aspects of the product, and perceptions of the product. Products that are distinctive in one of these ways are called differentiated products .

Physical aspects of a product include all the phrases you hear in advertisements: unbreakable bottle, nonstick surface, freezer-to-microwave, non-shrink, extra spicy, newly redesigned for your comfort. The location of a firm can also create a difference between producers. For example, a gas station located at a heavily traveled intersection can probably sell more gas, because more cars drive by that corner. A supplier to an automobile manufacturer may find that it is an advantage to locate close to the car factory.

Intangible aspects can differentiate a product, too. Some intangible aspects may be promises like a guarantee of satisfaction or money back, a reputation for high quality, services like free delivery, or offering a loan to purchase the product. Finally, product differentiation may occur in the minds of buyers. For example, many people could not tell the difference in taste between common varieties of beer or cigarettes if they were blindfolded but, because of past habits and advertising, they have strong preferences for certain brands. Advertising can play a role in shaping these intangible preferences.

Questions & Answers

1. What are the advantages and limitations of partnership in context of Ethiopia?
Tsigereda Reply
Pass questions and answers
Appiah Reply
the relationship between two concept supply and Demand
Lebogang Reply
what is globalization
Nuertey Reply
what is the best definition of economic?
Humble Reply
what is aggregat demand in open economy
Dagim Reply
Aggregate demand is expressed as the total amount of money exchanged for those goods and services at a specific price level and point in time.
Bayou
What is the full meaning of GDP
Akinbulejo Reply
gross domestic product
Yanish
Gross Domestic Product
bode
Formula for calculating the percentage of change in price, quantity, price elasticity of demand
Augustina Reply
Given that the elasticity of supply for a good is 2 and the percentage change in price is 45%.What is the percentage change in quantity supplied
Mbe Reply
Please don't understand
Augustina
Explain
Adebisi
ok
Owoeye
percentage change should be 44%
Owoeye
state and explainfour function of a costumer service
Egba Reply
the circular flow model of the economy is a simplification showing how the economy works and the relationship between income,production and spending in the economy as a whole
Anna Reply
It is an idea that show us the way the economy works about their income, production, and spending in the economy
Augustina
what is circular flow
Ntokozo Reply
reasons why supply curve shift from left to right
Rich
what is economics?
Dorcas Reply
Economics is defined as the science that study human behaviour as a relationship between ends and scarce means which have alternative uses.
Emmanuella
economics is a social science concerned with the production,distribution, and consumption of goods and services
Michael
Economics as a science studies human behaviour as a relationship between ends and scarce means with alternative use.
Augustina
economics can be defined as social science which studies human behavior as a relationship between ends and scare means which have alternative uses.... Lionel C Robins
Owoeye
in 2021 Amazon reduced the annual subscription fee for its prime membership service which provides free two_day shipping on many goods and other benefits, from $119 to $99. Zoppa consulting, an investment firm estimated that before the price reduction, prime had 62million subscribers globally. If so, what is the arc elasticity of demand for a prime membership.
Joan Reply
Differences between microeconomics and macroeconomics
tatiana Reply
Macroeconomics deal with the economy as a whole.that is an economy affect the firm ,government and the households eg.unemployment, whilst Microeconomics deal with the the decision making of households,firm and government separately.
Amah
Microeconomics is the branch of economic which studies the behaviour of individual households, firms and industries whiles macroeconomic studies the economy as a whole. It looks at the economy from a a broader perspective.
Augustina

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Source:  OpenStax, Principles of economics. OpenStax CNX. Sep 19, 2014 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11613/1.11
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