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OLIGOPOLISTIC BEHAVIOR: Oligopolistic industries are nothing if not diverse. Some sell identical products, others differentiated products. Some have three or four firms of nearly equal size, others have one large dominate firm (a clear industry leader) and a handful of smaller firms (that follow the leader). Whatever products they may sell, and however they may be organized, oligopolistic industries share several behavioral tendencies, including (1) interdependence, (2) rigid prices, (3) nonprice competition, (4) mergers, and (5) collusion. In other words, each oligopolistic firm keeps a close eye on the decisions made by other firms in the industry (interdependence), are reluctant to change prices (rigid prices), but instead try to attract the competitors customers using incentives other than prices (nonprice competition), and when they get tired of competing with their competitors they are inclined to cooperate either legally (mergers) or illegally (collusion).

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VALUE IN EXCHANGE: The ability to trade an item, especially money, for other goods and services that can then be used to satisfy wants and needs. Value in exchange means that value, that is satisfaction, is obtained indirectly through the acquisition of something else. For an item to have value in exchange it need NOT have value in use, value obtained directly from the consumption of a good or service.

     See also | value | value in use | money | barter | satisfaction | commodity money | fiat money |


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SIGNALLING

When confronted by asymmetric information, the use of small bits of information, or indicators, that suggest more comprehensive information. Signalling is used by those with more information to reduce the cost of informing those with less information. It is commonly used in markets with adverse selection. Methods of signalling include advertising, brand names, and warranties. A related method is screening.

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Today, you are likely to spend a great deal of time at a going out of business sale looking to buy either a half-dozen helium filled balloons or a packet of address labels large enough for addresses of both the sender and the recipient. Be on the lookout for door-to-door salesmen.
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Post WWI induced hyperinflation in German in the early 1900s raised prices by 726 million times from 1918 to 1923.
"The way employees treat customers reflects the manner in which they're treated by management. "

-- James Perkins, president, Cornell University

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