March 23, 2018 

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YIELD TO MATURITY: The annual rate of return on a financial asset that is held until maturity. Yield to maturity depends on both the coupon rate and the face or par value paid at maturity. If the selling price of a financial asset is equal to its par value, then the yield to maturity is equal to the current yield and the coupon rate. However, if the asset is selling at a discount, then the yield to maturity exceeds the current yield, which is greater than the coupon rate. And if the asset is selling at a premium, then the yield to maturity is less than the current yield, which is below than the coupon rate.

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Market control means that monopolistic competition does not necessarily have a supply relation between the quantity of output produced and the price. In contrast, the short-run supply curve of a perfectly competitive is that portion of its marginal cost curve that lies above the minimum of the average variable cost curve. Because monopolistic competition does not set price equal to marginal revenue, it does NOT equate marginal cost and price. As such, a monopolistically competitive firm does not necessarily supply larger quantities at higher prices or smaller quantities at lower prices.
A monopolistically competitive firm maximizes profit by producing the quantity of output that equates marginal revenue and marginal cost. In that price (and average revenue) is greater than marginal revenue in monopolistic competition, price is also greater than marginal cost. In other words, a monopolistically competitive firm does not produce output by moving along its marginal cost curve. The marginal cost curve is thus not the supply curve for a monopolistically competitive firm.

As a price maker with some degree of market control, a monopolistically competitive firm reacts to demand conditions, especially the price elasticity of demand, when setting the price and corresponding quantity produced. While a monopolistically competitive firm, especially one with limited market control, is likely to sell a larger quantity for at a higher price, it is also conceivable that it might offer a smaller quantity at a higher price or a larger quantity at a lower price.

Working Demand

Why is it that a monopolistically competitive firm might not have a direct relation between price and quantity supplied?

The key is the price elasticity of demand. Market control allows a firm to "work the demand curve." If buyers are relatively responsive to price (more elastic demand), then the firm is likely to charge a lower price. If buyers are relatively unresponsive to price (less elastic demand), then the firm is likely to charge a higher price. The monopolistically competitive firm takes advantage of buyers elasticity when setting the price and quantity that maximizes profit.

A perfectly competitive firm, in contrast cannot "work the demand curve" in this way. It can only respond to price, which it sets equal to marginal cost, to determine the profit-maximizing production level. This lack of market control is what establishes the marginal cost curve as the supply curve.

Maybe a Supply Curve, Maybe Not

This analysis is not meant to imply that monopolistically competitive firm DOES NOT produce a larger quantity in response to a higher price. It indicates that it MIGHT NOT produce a larger quantity in response to higher price. However, the phrase "MIGHT NOT" is extremely important to the law of supply. Economic science pursues universal laws and economic principles that ALWAYS hold.

In particular, the key obstacle to the positive price-quantity supply relation is market control and the negatively-sloped demand curve facing the monopolistically competitive firm. As a matter of fact, any firm with market control, which includes all market structures EXCEPT perfect competition, has the same qualification about supply. And because perfect competition does not exist in the real world, all real world market structures have questionable supply curve relationships.

This is perhaps most important because implementing policies that are based on economic laws that may or may not hold can be troublesome. Given the realistic possibility that the law of supply does not hold, the application of market-based policies can prove difficult, especially if the policies presume that firms react to a higher price by increasing the quantity supply.


Recommended Citation:

MONOPOLISTIC COMPETITION, SHORT-RUN SUPPLY CURVE, AmosWEB Encyclonomic WEB*pedia,, AmosWEB LLC, 2000-2018. [Accessed: March 23, 2018].

Check Out These Related Terms...

     | monopolistic competition, profit maximization | monopolistic competition, loss minimization | monopolistic competition, shutdown | short-run production alternatives | breakeven output |

Or For A Little Background...

     | supply curve | market supply | law of supply | law of diminishing marginal returns | monopolistic competition | monopolistic competition, characteristics | perfect competition, short-run supply curve | marginal revenue curve, monopolistic competition | marginal revenue, monopolistic competition | U-shaped cost curves | marginal cost | marginal cost curve | profit maximization | price elasticity of demand |

And For Further Study...

     | monopolistic competition, demand | monopolistic competition, short-run production analysis | monopolistic competition, efficiency | monopolistic competition, total analysis | monopolistic competition, marginal analysis | monopolistic competition, profit analysis |

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