October 28, 2016 

AmosWEB means Economics with a Touch of Whimsy!

AmosWEBWEB*pediaGLOSS*aramaECON*worldCLASS*portalQUIZ*tasticPED GuideXtra CrediteTutorA*PLS
Today's Index
Yesterday's Index

Help us compile the AmosWEB Free Lunch Index. Tell us about your last lunch.

Skipped lunch altogether.
Bought by another.
Ate lunch at home.
Brought lunch from home.
Fast food drive through.
Fast food dine in.
All-you-can eat buffet.
Casual dining with tip.
Fancy upscale with tip.

More About the Index
Least favorite marginal?

Factor Cost.
Propensity to Consume.

AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF UNIVERSITY PROFESSORS: An association of university and college faculty established in 1915 to protect academic freedom. Commonly abbreviated AAUP, this association is the closest thing university faculty have to a labor union. While it does engage in some collective bargaining functions with specific universities, similar to traditional labor unions, its primary function is to ensure that faculty maintain intellectual or academic freedom from political of social pressures.

Visit the GLOSS*arama


Oligopoly and monopoly have some similarities, both tend to be relatively large and possess significant market control, but also have a few important differences, oligopoly market has more than one firm. The dividing line between oligopoly and monopoly, however, can be blurred due to the closeness of substitutes and the inclination of oligopoly firms to collude.
Oligopoly is a market structure containing a small number of relatively large firms that often produce slightly differentiated output and with significant barriers to entry. Monopoly is a market structure containing a single firm that produces a good with no close substitutes and with significant barriers to entry. While it might seem as though the difference between oligopoly and monopoly is clear cut, such is not always the case.

A comparison between these two market structures is bound to be illuminating.

  • One or Few: The primary difference between oligopoly and monopoly is that monopoly contains a single seller, whereas oligopoly has two or more sellers. Such a difference might seem to provide a clear separation. But not necessarily.

  • Substitutes: In some cases, the difference between oligopoly and monopoly is blurred by the closeness of substitutes. A monopoly produces a good with NO close substitutes. An oligopoly firms produces a good with a small number of relatively close substitutes.

    However, the oligopoly-monopoly difference is blurred if an oligopoly firm pursues product differentiation to such an extent that it creates a product with no close substitutes. As such, the oligopoly moves closer to monopoly. For example, Microsoft was once one of several oligopoly software companies. However, continued modification and enhancements of its software increasingly reduced the degree of substitutability with other software, moving it closer to monopoly status.

    Alternatively, changes in the goods produced by other firms can make the good produced by a monopoly good more of a substitute. As such, the monopoly firm becomes more of an oligopoly. For example, AT&T once held a nationwide monopoly on telephone services. Technological advances, such as cellular telephones, allowed other firms to offer increasingly close substitutes, moving AT&T to oligopoly status.

  • Cooperation: The dividing line is also blurred between oligopoly and monopoly due to cooperation and collusion. The small number of large firms in oligopoly creates an opportunity and an incentive to cooperate rather than compete. Doing so can effectively transform an oligopoly industry into a monopoly. The industry might contain more than one firm, but those firms act as one.


Recommended Citation:

OLIGOPOLY AND MONOPOLY, AmosWEB Encyclonomic WEB*pedia,, AmosWEB LLC, 2000-2016. [Accessed: October 28, 2016].

Check Out These Related Terms...

     | oligopoly, characteristics | oligopoly, behavior | monopoly, characteristics | monopoly and perfect competition | oligopoly and monopolistic competition |

Or For A Little Background...

     | oligopoly | monopoly | market structures | market control | firm | industry | competition among the few | short-run production analysis | profit maximization | efficiency | production |

And For Further Study...

     | market share | concentration | kinked-demand curve | merger | collusion | barriers to entry | game theory | perfect competition | monopolistic competition | product differentiation | oligopoly, realism | monopoly, realism | cross elasticity of substitution |

Search Again?

Back to the WEB*pedia


State of the ECONOMY

Real average weekly earnings
November 2015
$365.85 Bureau of Labor Statistics
Constant 1982-84 dollars

More Stats

[What's This?]

Today, you are likely to spend a great deal of time visiting every yard sale in a 30-mile radius hoping to buy either a weathervane with a chicken on top or a flower arrangement with daisies and carnations for your uncle. Be on the lookout for slow moving vehicles with darkened windows.
Your Complete Scope

This isn't me! What am I?

Three-forths of the gold mined each year is used to manufacture jewelry.
"The less secure a man is, the more likely he is to have extreme prejudices. "

-- Clint Eastwood, actor, director

Canadian Journal of Economics
A PEDestrian's Guide
Xtra Credit
Tell us what you think about AmosWEB. Like what you see? Have suggestions for improvements? Let us know. Click the User Feedback link.

User Feedback

| AmosWEB | WEB*pedia | GLOSS*arama | ECON*world | CLASS*portal | QUIZ*tastic | PED Guide | Xtra Credit | eTutor | A*PLS |
| About Us | Terms of Use | Privacy Statement |

Thanks for visiting AmosWEB
Copyright ©2000-2016 AmosWEB*LLC
Send comments or questions to: WebMaster