Social Science

Monopoly and Antitrust laws – Definition, Effects and Examples

There’s power in uniqueness, which means that when you’ve got one thing that no one else has, you mechanically wield a whole lot of authority. Something comparable happens in a monopoly, the place a sure product is bought by just one seller out there. This exclusiveness provides the agency absolute control over the market and puts it in a serious place of power.

With power, nevertheless, comes the power to abuse it. This leads to the question—are all monopolies dangerous? Are monopolies unlawful? Before diving in to answer these questions, let’s first take a look at other market buildings that exist aside from a monopoly.

Varieties Of Market Buildings

The characteristics of a monopoly are at one excessive finish of the market construction spectrum. Let’s begin with good competition, which that stands at the reverse edge of monopoly.

Good/Pure Competition

A wonderfully competitive market structure is one through which numerous small companies compete towards each other with none single agency having vital advertising energy. They sell equivalent merchandise at a worth set by the companies out there. Nevertheless, a wonderfully competitive market is very unrealistic; it is principally theoretical and not often exists in the real world.

The agriculture markets at first of the 20th century have been seen as being near a real-world version of a wonderfully aggressive market. There were many farmers, and no single farmer constituted a large portion of the market activity. Nevertheless, in current many years, even farming operations have modified in ways that deviate from the assumptions of good competition (Source).

Monopolistic Competitors

Like good competitors, monopolistic competitors is characterized by numerous small companies competing towards one another. Nevertheless, the distinction is that the companies in this market construction sell comparable, but extremely differentiated products. Regardless of the exceptional similarities in these merchandise, the small variations turn into the idea for a agency’s advertising and promoting. Companies may select to differentiate their products on the idea of high quality, fashion, packaging, model identify, promoting, pricing methods and so on.

monopoly types

Companies in good competitors sell similar merchandise and these in monopolistic competitors promote comparable, but extremely differentiated products.

Coke and Pepsi are quite comparable, but when Pepsi launched a huge promotional sale at a supermarket chain, some Coke drinkers may change, a minimum of briefly. Monopolistic competition can be found in the fast meals restaurant business, clothes shops, breakfast cereal corporations, beauty salons and spas, and so forth.


An oligopoly is dominated by a couple of companies that collaborate with or compete towards each other. These companies have management over uncooked supplies, patents and other assets that make it troublesome for any potential companies planning an entry into the market. The focus of power in the arms of a few players additionally leads to excessive costs. Nevertheless, costs can’t go too excessive, as consumers all the time have the choice to go to product substitutes out there.

Some prime examples of oligopolies are airways, cable television providers, mass media, prescription drugs, and so forth.

Monopoly, and what provides rise to it

A monopoly is a market construction where a single firm is the only producer of a product with no close substitutes. Subsequently, beneath a monopoly, the firm and business are synonymous. A monopoly arises when one firm has an important benefit over the others. This benefit might merely be as a result of a key resource owned by a agency (e.g., De Beers owns a lot of the diamond mines on the earth), or resulting from an exclusive proper given by the federal government in the form of patents and copyrights to supply a sure good.

Typically, an business begins with many rivals, however only one survives the competition. All different companies are driven out of the business because of their merchandise being inferior or for other reasons, akin to their incapability to scale back prices.

A agency may additionally turn out to be a monopoly by dominating the business and using that dominance to its advantage to get rid of competition and discourage potential competitors.

Typically, one giant business can supply your complete market at a lower cost than two or more smaller ones. Suppose your firm is constructing a toll bridge across a river. This might entail big preliminary setup costs, but the marginal value of allowing yet one more automotive is near zero. Simply put, building a bridge includes big costs, but once the bridge is constructed, you incur hardly any value to permit a automotive to move. Subsequently, with every automotive driving over the bridge, the typical value reduces.

If a second bridge is produced, the typical prices would almost double, as the two bridges would cut up the market. A pure monopoly is created in such situations, since having one bridge as an alternative of two is extra environment friendly.


Public utilities take pleasure in excessive economies of scale, which signifies that they’re at a huge advantage because of their measurement. Different companies trying to enter this business can be discouraged to compete, just because it might be extremely expensive to succeed in a comparable measurement in a short amount of time.

What is the drawback with a monopoly?

The focus of energy within the palms of a single agency is dangerous. It places the firm able to take advantage of this power in the following methods:

High costs – Demand is elastic in a competitive market. Because of this, in a aggressive market, for those who charge a worth in your product that is larger than the market worth, you gained’t promote something. Conversely, for those who charge a worth that is lower than the market worth, individuals will want to purchase it from you. Nevertheless, in a single-seller market, shoppers—devoid of some other choices to purchase from—should pay the worth set by the monopoly, regardless of it being high.

Low high quality – A aggressive market demands customer satisfaction by continuously testing the power of companies to innovate, discover new production methods, and produce high-quality products. If a firm does not stay as much as the expectations of shoppers, it won’t survive. Nevertheless, a monopoly is essentially resistant to such pressures. Shoppers are more likely to be left with no selection but to buy merchandise of a decrease high quality and at a better worth than they might find in a more aggressive setting.


Worth Discrimination – Worth discrimination happens when a company sells similar merchandise at totally different costs to totally different individuals, relying on elements just like the financial status of the client, the quantity ordered, and so on. With a purpose to take advantage of revenue out of each buyer, monopolies might charge a customer the maximum quantity he is prepared to pay. Some monopolies may additionally range the worth in response to the amount demanded by providing bulk discounts.

Tying Contracts – Tying happens when a agency sells you a product only if you also comply with buy a special product. In technological merchandise, for example, a firm might design its products in such a means that makes them unimaginable to make use of with one other agency’s product (Source).

For example, when Apple initially released the iPhone in 2007 in america, it was bought solely with AT&T contracts. A software lock was employed on the iPhone making certain that it might not work on another community!

Unfair obstacles to entry – A monopoly might attempt to aggressively shield and even broaden its place by unfairly discouraging new entrants. They could be prepared to spend their financial income in an try and influence public authorities and political leaders who may also help them keep their superior position.

Antitrust regulation: Are monopolies illegal?

After understanding the effect that such a concentration of power has on an financial system, one may recommend that monopolies have to be prohibited. Nevertheless, not all monopolies are dangerous, and not all of them are unlawful. For example, businesses may turn into monopolies if they produce a superior and expertly managed product. One can’t penalize profitable corporations only for being successful!


Even so, monopolies are unlawful in the event that they’re established or maintained via improper conduct.

Antitrust laws are in place in many nations to protect shoppers by regulating how corporations function their businesses. They help provide an equal enjoying subject for companies in the identical business and forestall companies from enjoying dirty to accumulate too much energy over their rivals. Three core federal antitrust laws in effect at the moment are the Sherman Act, the Federal Trade Commission Act, and the Clayton Act.

These laws forbid illegal enterprise practices generally phrases, leaving the courts to determine which of them are illegal based mostly on the details of every case. For example, the FTC Act bans unfair strategies of competitors, the Clayton Act prohibits mergers and acquisitions the place the impact may be to substantially scale back competitors or create monopoly, and so on (Source).

Beneath these federal and some state laws, companies and shoppers who are harmed by anticompetitive conduct can search (or in some instances win) damages and injunctive aid.

Monopoly isn’t an unbeatable system anymore. Along with these said laws, technological modifications and the pursuit of income chip away on the established powers of huge companies. Potential rivals are continually making an attempt to make the subsequent breakthrough with their new merchandise, which might get rid of an previous firm’s power. Thus, identical to our lives, continually enhancing and making an attempt to be one of the best is the one choice!


Aurora College
BYU–Hawaii (Link 1)
BYU–Hawaii (Hyperlink 2)
College Of Missouri-St. Louis
Arnold Kling’s Personal Net Web page
Federal Commerce Commission