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For monopolies, marginal cost curves are upward sloping and marginal revenues are downward sloping. In traditional economics, the goal of a firm is to maximize their profits. This means they want to maximize the difference between their earnings, i. To find the profit maximizing point, firms look at marginal revenue MR — the total additional revenue from selling one additional unit of output — and the marginal cost MC — the total additional cost of producing one additional unit of output.

When the marginal revenue of selling a good is greater than the marginal cost of producing it, firms are making a profit on that product. This leads directly into the marginal decision rule, which dictates that a given good should continue to be produced if the marginal revenue of one unit is greater than its marginal cost.

Therefore, the maximizing solution involves setting marginal revenue equal to marginal cost.

Monopoly Profit Maximization with Calculus

This is relatively straightforward for firms in perfectly competitive markets, in which marginal revenue is the same as price. Monopoly production, however, is complicated by the fact that monopolies have demand curves and MR curves that are distinct, causing price to differ from marginal revenue. Monopoly : In a monopoly market, the marginal revenue curve and the demand curve are distinct and downward-sloping. Production occurs where marginal cost and marginal revenue intersect.


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Perfect Competition : In a perfectly competitive market, the marginal revenue curve is horizontal and equal to demand, or price. The marginal cost curves faced by monopolies are similar to those faced by perfectly competitive firms. Most will have low marginal costs at low levels of production, reflecting the fact that firms can take advantage of efficiency opportunities as they begin to grow. Marginal costs get higher as output increases. For example, a pizza restaurant can easily double production from one pizza per hour to two without hiring additional employees or buying more sophisticated equipment.

When production reaches 50 pizzas per hour, however, it may be difficult to grow without investing a lot of money in more skilled employees or more high-tech ovens. This trend is reflected in the upward-sloping portion of the marginal cost curve. The marginal revenue curve for monopolies, however, is quite different than the marginal revenue curve for competitive firms. Monopolies have much more power than firms normally would in competitive markets, but they still face limits determined by demand for a product.

Therefore, monopolies must make a decision about where to set their price and the quantity of their supply to maximize profits. They can either choose their price, or they can choose the quantity that they will produce and allow market demand to set the price. Since costs are a function of quantity, the formula for profit maximization is written in terms of quantity rather than in price. In this formula, p q is the price level at quantity q. The cost to the firm at quantity q is equal to c q. Since revenue is represented by pq and cost is c, profit is the difference between these two numbers.

Monopolies will produce at quantity q where marginal revenue equals marginal cost. Then they will charge the maximum price p q that market demand will respond to at that quantity. Consider the example of a monopoly firm that can produce widgets at a cost given by the following function:. The price of widgets is determined by demand:. How can we maximize this function?

In this case:. Consider the diagram illustrating monopoly competition. The key points of this diagram are fivefold. We see that the monopoly restricts output and charges a higher price than would prevail under competition. Monopoly Diagram : This graph illustrates the price and quantity of the market equilibrium under a monopoly. To maximize output, monopolies produce the quantity at which marginal supply is equal to marginal cost.

Overall, we can say that the elasticity of demand increases as the differentiation between products decreases. It also has a U-shaped short-run cost curve. The conditions for price-output determination and equilibrium of an individual firm are as follows:.

Single Price Monopoly

If firms in a monopolistic competition earn super-normal profits in the short-run, then new firms will have an incentive to enter the industry. As these firms enter, the profits per firm decrease as the total demand gets shared between a larger number of firms. This continues until all firms earn only normal profits.

Therefore, in the long-run, firms, in such a market, earn only normal profits. As we can see in Fig. This corresponds to quantity Q 1 and price P 1. Therefore, all firms earn zero super-normal profits or earn only normal profits. It is important to note that in the long-run, a firm is in an equilibrium position having excess capacity. In simple words, it produces a lower quantity than its full capacity.

From Fig. However, it does not do so because it reduces the average revenue more than the average costs. Hence, we can conclude that in monopolistic competition, firms do not operate optimally.


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There always exists an excess capacity of production with each firm. In case of losses in the short-run, the firms making a loss will exit from the market. This continues until the remaining firms make normal profits only.

How does a Monopolist Determine Price and Output?

Answer: In monopolistic competition, product differentiation is the key to add an element of monopoly to the market. Hence, options, a, b, and c are characteristics of such a market. First, 12 million consumers are no longer willing to pay for the sunglasses this quantity change will be part of the deadweight loss. There are two changes to producer surplus with opposite effects.

Competitive Market Recap

First, since 12 million consumers are no longer willing to buy the goods, Luxottica sells 12 million fewer sunglasses this loss in surplus is the other piece of the deadweight loss. Remember that it is inefficient when there are potential Pareto improvements. In other words, if an action can be taken where the gains outweigh the losses, and by compensating the losers everyone could be made better off, then there is a deadweight loss.

Which of the following statements is TRUE? Refer to the diagram below, which illustrates the demand, marginal revenue, and marginal cost curves for a single-price monopolist. Skip to content Increase Font Size. Topic 8: Imperfect Competition. Learning Objectives By the end of this section, you will be able to:.

How Is Profit Maximized in a Monopolistic Market?

Understand the Marginal Revenue curve and its significance for a monopolist Describe how a monopoly chooses price and quantity Calculate the profits of a monopolist and explain why profits do not cause entry Explain why monopolies cause deadweight loss. Glossary Marginal Revenue The increase in revenue resulting from a marginal increase in quantity Monopoly a situation in which one firm produces all of the output in a market Single-priced Monopoly a monopolist that can only charge one price.

Exercises 8.


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