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Monopolistic Competition - Meaning , Features In Economics

square What is Monopolistic Competition ? Its Meaning ↓

Pure monopoly and perfect competition are two extreme cases of market structure. In reality, there are markets having large number of producers competing with each other in order to sell their product in the market. Thus, there is monopoly on one hand and perfect competition on other hand. Such a mixture of monopoly and perfect competition is called as monopolistic competition. It is a case of imperfect competition.

Monopolistic competition has been introduced by American economist Prof. Edward Chamberlin, in his book 'Theory of Monopolistic Competition' published in 1933.

Monopolistic Competition

square Features of Monopolistic Competition ↓

The following are the features or characteristics of monopolistic competition :-

1. Large Number of Sellers

There are large number of sellers producing differentiated products. So, competition among them is very keen. Since number of sellers is large, each seller produces a very small part of market supply. So no seller is in a position to control price of product. Every firm is limited in its size.

2. Product Differentiation

It is one of the most important features of monopolistic competition. In perfect competition, products are homogeneous in nature. On the contrary, here, every producer tries to keep his product dissimilar than his rival's product in order to maintain his separate identity. This boosts up the competition in market. So, every firm acquires some monopoly power.

3. Freedom of Entry and Exit

This feature leads to stiff competition in market. Free entry into the market enables new firms to come with close substitutes. Free entry or exit maintains normal profit in the market for a longer span of time.

4. Selling Cost

It is a unique feature of monopolistic competition. In such type of market, due to product differentiation, every firm has to incur some additional expenditure in the form of selling cost. This cost includes sales promotion expenses, advertisement expenses, salaries of marketing staff, etc.

But on account of homogeneous product in perfect competition and zero competition in monopoly, selling cost does not exist there.

5. Absence of Interdependence

Large numbers of firms are different in their size. Each firm has its own production and marketing policy. So no firm is influenced by other firm. All are independent.

6. Two Dimensional Competition

Monopolistic competition has two types of competition aspects viz.

  1. Price competition i.e. firms compete with each other on the basis of price.
  2. Non price competition i.e. firms compete on the basis of brand, product quality advertisement.

7. Concept of Group

In place of Marshallian concept of industry, Chamberlin introduced the concept of Group under monopolistic competition. An industry means a number of firms producing identical product. A group means a number of firms producing differentiated products which are closely related.

8. Falling Demand Curve

In monopolistic competition, a firm is facing downward sloping demand curve i.e. elastic demand curve. It means one can sell more at lower price and vice versa.

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