Are Monopolies Necessarily Less Efficient Than Perfect Competition

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This essay will look at efficiency between both a monopoly and a perfect competition, and whether a monopoly is necessarily less efficient than perfect competition. Using diagrams and equations reflecting the optimal choice of output, marginal revenue and marginal cost for monopolies, I will explain how efficiency is affected by low levels of production. At the same time monopolies can increase efficiency due to their ability in price discrimination, they price people differently and therefore people pay what they truly believe the good is worth. There needs to be a clear description of the differences between monopoly and perfect competition as well as efficiency; an analysis of deadweight loss and natural monopoly is also important…show more content…
Snyder and Nicholson describe Pareto efficient allocation as an allocation of resources, where it is not possible through further reallocations to make one person better off without making someone else worse off (Snyder and Nicholson, 2005, p.467). Varian further explains that a competitive industry operates where price equals marginal cost, while a monopolised industry operates where price is greater than marginal cost; therefore a higher price creates a lower output (Varian, 1996, p.411-412).

From the diagram above we can see that if we get the firm to behave as a competitor and take the market price as being set exogenously. Then we would have (Pc, Yc) for competitive price and output. If the firm recognised its influence on the market price and chose its level of output so as to maximise profits, we would see monopoly price and output (Pm, Ym). Since P(y) is greater than MC(y) for all the output levels between Ym and Yc, there is a whole range of output where people are willing to pay more for a unit of output than it costs to produce it. Clearly there is potential for Pareto improvement (Varian, 1996, p.412-413).

A measure of efficiency can be produced by analysing the total surplus for a given market; this is seen by subtracting the total cost from gross consumption benefits. The higher the level of total surplus the more efficient production

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