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March 2, 2024 

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COLLUSION AND EFFICIENCY: Colluding oligopolistic firms generally produce less output and charge a higher price than would be the case for a perfectly competitive industry. In essence, colluding oligopolistic firms function just as if a market were monopolized. The price charged by the colluding firms is higher than the marginal cost of production. The equality between price and marginal cost is THE key indication that resources are allocated efficiently and that society's resources are being used to generate the highest possible level of satisfaction. Because the colluding firms control the market like a monopoly, the market demand curve is THE demand curve for the colluding firms's. With a negatively-sloped demand curve, price is greater than marginal revenue. And because a profit-maximizing firm equates marginal revenue with marginal cost, the price charged by the colluding firms when the maximize industry profit is greater than marginal cost.

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DISCOUNT RATE: The interest rate that the Federal Reserve System charges for loans to banks. To ensure that our nation's banks retain their liquidity and remain in business, the Federal Reserve System stands ready to lend bank reserves on a moment's notice to any bank. The discount rate is the interest rate the Federal Reserve System charges for these loans. Like any interest rate, when it goes up (or down) it discourages (or encourages) borrowing. In principle, the Fed can use the discount rate to control our nation's money supply.

     See also | Federal Reserve System | bank reserves | interest rate | money supply | fractional-reserve banking | bank panic | open market operations | reserve requirements | monetary policy |


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KINKED-DEMAND CURVE ANALYSIS

An analysis using the kinked-demand curve to explain rigid prices often found with oligopoly. The kinked-demand curve contains two distinct segments--one for higher prices that is more elastic and one for lower prices that is less elastic. Key to this analysis is that the corresponding marginal revenue curve contains three segments--one associated with the more elastic segment, one associated with the less elastic segment, and one associated with the kink. A profit-maximizing firm can then equate marginal cost to a wide range of marginal revenue values along the vertical segment of the marginal revenue curve. This suggests that marginal cost must change significantly before an oligopolistic firm is inclined to change price.

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