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The flat section of the long-run average cost curve in [link] (b) can be interpreted in two different ways. One interpretation is that a single manufacturing plant producing a quantity of 5,000 has the same average costs as a single manufacturing plant with four times as much capacity that produces a quantity of 20,000. The other interpretation is that one firm owns a single manufacturing plant that produces a quantity of 5,000, while another firm owns four separate manufacturing plants, which each produce a quantity of 5,000. This second explanation, based on the insight that a single firm may own a number of different manufacturing plants, is especially useful in explaining why the long-run average cost curve often has a large flat segment—and thus why a seemingly smaller firm may be able to compete quite well with a larger firm. At some point, however, the task of coordinating and managing many different plants raises the cost of production sharply, and the long-run average cost curve slopes up as a result.

In the examples to this point, the quantity demanded in the market is quite large (one million) compared with the quantity produced at the bottom of the long-run average cost curve (5,000, 10,000 or 20,000). In such a situation, the market is set for competition between many firms. But what if the bottom of the long-run average cost curve is at a quantity of 10,000 and the total market demand at that price is only slightly higher than that quantity—or even somewhat lower?

Return to [link] (a), where the bottom of the long-run average cost curve is at 10,000, but now imagine that the total quantity of dishwashers demanded in the market at that price of $500 is only 30,000. In this situation, the total number of firms in the market would be three. A handful of firms in a market is called an “oligopoly,” and the chapter on Monopolistic Competition and Oligopoly will discuss the range of competitive strategies that can occur when oligopolies compete.

Alternatively, consider a situation, again in the setting of [link] (a), where the bottom of the long-run average cost curve is 10,000, but total demand for the product is only 5,000. (For simplicity, imagine that this demand is highly inelastic, so that it does not vary according to price.) In this situation, the market may well end up with a single firm—a monopoly—producing all 5,000 units. If any firm tried to challenge this monopoly while producing a quantity lower than 5,000 units, the prospective competitor firm would have a higher average cost, and so it would not be able to compete in the longer term without losing money. The chapter on Monopoly discusses the situation of a monopoly firm.

Thus, the shape of the long-run average cost curve reveals whether competitors in the market will be different sizes. If the LRAC curve has a single point at the bottom, then the firms in the market will be about the same size, but if the LRAC curve has a flat-bottomed segment of constant returns to scale, then firms in the market may be a variety of different sizes.

Questions & Answers

What is a monopsony?
Allan Reply
economic is tha process of banking
hashmat Reply
Pls can u explain it into details
Praise
Cause I don't understand what you are saying
Praise
brownies price is 5$ quantity demand is 5000$ supplied is 3000 if brownies are not taxed how many are consumed?
Fel Reply
what is unemployment
Rita Reply
ok so what would u say is supply in your own terms
Odessa Reply
Ok
fedaa
ya
Lal
why the demand curve is downwards sloping and supply upward sloping
Odessa Reply
the dd curve is downward sloping because consumers dd less when price is high and vice versa the ss curve is upward sloping suppliers are willing to produce more when prices are high
Clifford
what is dead weight loss
jeremy
when the prices of supplies slop upward then the prices of demand curve will increases downward
Kerubino
Why scarsity is considered to be very important in the study of economics
Sesay Reply
How can you solve the problem of scarcity
Sesay
If there is a enough quantitative the problem of scarcity would be solved.
Kerubino
what is demand
aliyu Reply
Demand refers to the quantities of a commodity which consumers are willing and are able to buy at given prices.
Okonji
demand is the number units of goods or services that buyers are willing and able to buy at verous prices
muhiyadiin
what is a full form of GDPCP?
Sadhna Reply
if the price of a commodity is at 6$, is the magnitude of the excess supply
Emma Reply
The quantity supplied at a price above or higher than $6 would be the excess supply
Elisha
2003, and $12,700 in Korea. Assume the growth rates for each country remain the same. 1. Compute the doubling time for
busywork
6$ the quantity remained the same
Sekou
write shirt note of the following terms normal goods
Adamu Reply
what is normal goods
Adamu
what is a full form of GDPCP?
Sadhna
evaluate measures to remove the deflationary gap?
Tinotenda Reply
State four importance of economics
School Reply
1) Economics help us to know how gouvernement,society, individuals and house holds allocate scarce resources 2)Economics help give us valable knowldge on daily decisions 3)Economics also help us to better understand economy 4)Economics help us better our daily life
Blessing
thank you dr
BLESSED
what is scarcity?
MCclean Reply
what is economics
MCclean
why is economics not consider as pure science?
Stanly
Economics is defined as science that studies human behaviour as a relation between ends and scarce means
School
Economics is not considered as pure science because it only deals with currency and human behaviour...
School
Scarcity refers to a limited supply of goods and services
School
What is Stock exchange?
Rock Reply
An exchange where security trading is conducted by professional stockbrokers
Bnysn
A place where scurity trading is conducted on an organised system
Blessing

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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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