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Government limitations on competition used to be even more common in the United States. For most of the twentieth century, only one phone company—AT&T—was legally allowed to provide local and long distance service. From the 1930s to the 1970s, one set of federal regulations limited which destinations airlines could choose to fly to and what fares they could charge; another set of regulations limited the interest rates that banks could pay to depositors; yet another specified what trucking firms could charge customers.

What products are considered utilities depends, in part, on the available technology. Fifty years ago, local and long distance telephone service was provided over wires. It did not make much sense to have multiple companies building multiple systems of wiring across towns and across the country. AT&T lost its monopoly on long distance service when the technology for providing phone service changed from wires to microwave and satellite transmission, so that multiple firms could use the same transmission mechanism. The same thing happened to local service, especially in recent years, with the growth in cellular phone systems.

The combination of improvements in production technologies and a general sense that the markets could provide services adequately led to a wave of deregulation    , starting in the late 1970s and continuing into the 1990s. This wave eliminated or reduced government restrictions on the firms that could enter, the prices that could be charged, and the quantities that could be produced in many industries, including telecommunications, airlines, trucking, banking, and electricity.

Around the world, from Europe to Latin America to Africa and Asia, many governments continue to control and limit competition in what those governments perceive to be key industries, including airlines, banks, steel companies, oil companies, and telephone companies.

Vist this website for examples of some pretty bizarre patents.

Intimidating potential competition

Businesses have developed a number of schemes for creating barriers to entry by deterring potential competitors from entering the market. One method is known as predatory pricing    , in which a firm uses the threat of sharp price cuts to discourage competition. Predatory pricing is a violation of U.S. antitrust law, but it is difficult to prove.

Consider a large airline that provides most of the flights between two particular cities. A new, small start-up airline decides to offer service between these two cities. The large airline immediately slashes prices on this route to the bone, so that the new entrant cannot make any money. After the new entrant has gone out of business, the incumbent firm can raise prices again.

After this pattern is repeated once or twice, potential new entrants may decide that it is not wise to try to compete. Small airlines often accuse larger airlines of predatory pricing: in the early 2000s, for example, ValuJet accused Delta of predatory pricing, Frontier accused United, and Reno Air accused Northwest. In 2015, the Justice Department ruled against American Express and Mastercard for imposing restrictions on retailers who encouraged customers to use lower swipe fees on credit transactions.

In some cases, large advertising budgets can also act as a way of discouraging the competition. If the only way to launch a successful new national cola drink is to spend more than the promotional budgets of Coca-Cola and Pepsi Cola, not too many companies will try. A firmly established brand name can be difficult to dislodge.

Summing up barriers to entry

[link] lists the barriers to entry that have been discussed here. This list is not exhaustive, since firms have proved to be highly creative in inventing business practices that discourage competition. When barriers to entry exist, perfect competition is no longer a reasonable description of how an industry works. When barriers to entry are high enough, monopoly can result.

Barriers to entry
Barrier to Entry Government Role? Example
Natural monopoly Government often responds with regulation (or ownership) Water and electric companies
Control of a physical resource No DeBeers for diamonds
Legal monopoly Yes Post office, past regulation of airlines and trucking
Patent, trademark, and copyright Yes, through protection of intellectual property New drugs or software
Intimidating potential competitors Somewhat Predatory pricing; well-known brand names

Key concepts and summary

Barriers to entry prevent or discourage competitors from entering the market. These barriers include: economies of scale that lead to natural monopoly; control of a physical resource; legal restrictions on competition; patent, trademark and copyright protection; and practices to intimidate the competition like predatory pricing. Intellectual property refers to legally guaranteed ownership of an idea, rather than a physical item. The laws that protect intellectual property include patents, copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets. A natural monopoly arises when economies of scale persist over a large enough range of output that if one firm supplies the entire market, no other firm can enter without facing a cost disadvantage.


Return to [link] . Suppose P 0 is $10 and P 1 is $11. Suppose a new firm with the same LRAC curve as the incumbent tries to break into the market by selling 4,000 units of output. Estimate from the graph what the new firm’s average cost of producing output would be. If the incumbent continues to produce 6,000 units, how much output would be supplied to the market by the two firms? Estimate what would happen to the market price as a result of the supply of both the incumbent firm and the new entrant. Approximately how much profit would each firm earn?

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Questions & Answers

what is trade by batter
Iko Reply
trade involves the transfer of good or services from one person to another, often in exchange for money.
Now trade by batter :it may define as form of trading in which good are exchange directly for other goods without the use of money as medium of exchange
is it good to trade with something with a value but given something which has no value
trade in batter means the exchange of goods and services without using money
mention six factors that explain efficiency and productivity of labour
fanelchainz Reply
mention six factors that explain efficiency and productivity of labour
factors that explain efficiency of labor are 1.population, 2.technology, 3.education, 4.working environment, 5.incentives (tax holidays) and 6.religious or cultural beliefs.
What is demand
SoFIA Reply
is the abulity and willingness of a consumer to purchase goods and services at a particular peeiod of time in a given price
what is a central bank
Fadhil Reply
what is elastic
fadoju Reply
how is equilibrium defined in financial market?
infinity Reply
what is the definition of money
Money is define as anything that is generally acceptable as a means of exchange nd settlement of dept
what is elastic
what is demand and supply
demand is ability of a consumer to purchase a particular good at a particular time
supply is the ability of a person to be able to provide his costumers with what they need
how do choices end up determining what, how and for whom goods and services are produced
Ayesha Reply
They end up by using the scale of preference
there are 10 000 seats available for the Wimbledon tennis Championships. the price per ticket is fixed by the organisers. the supply of seats is thus: A. completely elastic B. completely inelastic C. elastic D. unitary elastic E. elastic which option is the answer?
Esihle Reply
what is international trade
Naomi Reply
the trade between two or more countries outside the territory of own country
it's an international trade
Multilateral trade it is
how do monopolistic firm make profit in the short run and long run
Ediga Reply
oligopolistic competition is known to have a kinked demand curve .why there is such a tease my in oligopolistic form only
please can anyone help me in econs
Manuel in which context
please in utility
what is demand ?
Tonight Reply
The amount of some goods or services consumers need to purchase
The amount of goods or services that consumers are willing and can afford to purchase.
it is goods and services consumers are willing and able to buy at given price over a given period of time
as quantity of good and service that a consumer is willing and able to purchase at a given price and at the particular market price.
The amount of goods and services consumers are able and willing to buy and pay for at a given price and at given point in time.
refers to the quantity of goods and services that customers are willing and able to purchase at various prices over a period of time
Demand may define as goods and services which a consumer is willing to buy at a given price over a perticular market price
what are subsidies
Yaya Reply
how do trade unions deal with subsidies
bro can you explain decision making
Decision making is a process to use your limited resources for best productive purpose.
explain why an increase in national income may not always lead to improvement in economic wellbeing of all the citizens?
How many types of labour do we have pls
skilled and unskilled labour
Thanks 🙏
what are the factors that affects efficiency of labour ?
What are tools of economics analysis
Adu Tumwah,,, The tools of economics analysis are; Charts, graphs, equations, table, arithemetic mean, etc.
Subsidies are payments made by the government to the producers of goods and services
what is the marginal revenue if p=10-2q
Karen Reply
what's the difference between demand goods and supply gooda
Spiff Reply
why is 2% the optimal inflation rate in many countries
why is 2% the optimal inflation rate in many countries
what's inflation
Thando Reply
a general rise in the prices of services and goods in a particular country
why is 2% the optimal inflation rate in many countries?
resulting in a fall in the value of money,,
for example
Inflation is the continuous rise of price of goods and services in a nation
persistent increase in the general price level

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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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