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PERFECT COMPETITION AND EFFICIENCY: Perfect competition is the idealized market structure that achieves an efficient allocation of resources. The conditions of perfect competition, including (1) large number of small firms, (2) identical products sold by all firms, (3) freedom of entry into and exit out of the industry, and (4) perfect knowledge of prices and technology, ensure that perfect competition efficiently allocates resources. This is in fact the purpose of perfect competition: a market structure that illustrates perfection, the best of all possible resource allocation worlds. The real world falls short of this perfection.

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PERFECT COMPETITION, SHUTDOWN

A perfectly competitive firm is presumed to shutdown production and produce no output in the short run, if price is less than average variable cost. This is one of three short-run production alternatives facing a firm. The other two are profit maximization (if price exceeds average total cost) and loss minimization (if price is greater than average variable cost but less than average total cost).

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