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PERFECT COMPETITION, REALISM: Perfect competition is an idealized market structure that does NOT exist in the real world. While some real world industries might come relatively close to one or two of the four key characteristics of perfect competition, none matches all four sufficiently that they can be declared PERFECTLY competitively. Some industries come close on the large number of small firms and the identical product characteristics. A few industries have relatively good, although not perfect, information about prices and technology. However, almost all industries fall far short of the perfect mobility characteristics.

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Lesson Contents
Unit 1: The Set Up
  • Demand Review
  • Bring On Utility
  • Choices
  • Unit 1 Summary
  • Unit 2: A Simple Choice
  • One Good
  • Demand For A Good
  • Unit 2 Summary
  • Unit 3: Complex Choices
  • Two Goods
  • How Much Of Each?
  • A Short Cut?
  • Income And Prices
  • Rule Of Consumer Equilibrium
  • Unit 3 Summary
  • Unit 4: On To Demand
  • A Generalized Choice
  • A Price Change
  • Marginal Utility Curve
  • Unit 4 Summary
  • Unit 5: Beyond Demand
  • Many Choices
  • Demand Elasticity
  • Market Supply
  • Unit 5 Summary
  • Course Home
    Utility and Demand

    This lesson undertakes a detailed investigation into the decision-making process underlying the purchase of goods and services. Doing so provides a behind-the-scenes examination of market demand, offering an explanation for the inverse relation between demand price and quantity demanded that is the law of demand.

    • The first unit of this lesson, The Set Up, begins with a review of the market demand and consumer demand theory.
    • In the second unit, A Simple Choice, we examine the decision-making process for purchasing a single good.
    • The third unit, Complex Choices, then complicates matters slightly by adding a second good into the decision making mix.
    • The fourth unit, On To Demand, presents the rule of consumer equilibrium that captures the essence of this decision-making process and how it helps explain the law of demand.
    • The fifth unit and final unit, Beyond Demand, explores how consumer demand theory provides insight to noneconomic choices, demand elasticity, and market supply.

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    IMPERFECT COMPETITION

    Markets or industries with two or more sellers and buyers that fail to match the criteria of perfect competition. The most noted examples of imperfect competition are the two market structures with selling-side control--monopolistic competition and oligopoly. Lesser known market structures with buying-side control--monopsonistic competition and oligopsony--are also considered as imperfect competition. Facing no competition, monopoly and monopsony are not included. Most real world markets can be considered imperfect competition.

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