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HERFINDAHL-HIRSHMAN INDEX: A measure of concentration of the production in an industry that's calculated as the sum of the squares of market shares for each firm. This is an alternative method of summarizing the degree to which an industry is oligopolistic and the relative concentration of market power held by the largest firms in the industry. The Herfindahl index gives a better indication of the relative market control of the largest firms than can be found with the four-firm and eight-firm concentration ratios.

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NATURAL MONOPOLY: A special type of monopoly that's able to lower its price when it produces and sells a larger quantity. This somewhat remarkable ability results because a natural monopoly uses a great deal of capital. In that capital carries an up front cost that must be paid regardless of production, a natural monopoly can spread these costs over larger quantity--if it produces more. The larger the quantity sold, the lower the cost for each unit. A single natural monopoly is thus able to produce and supply a good at a lower cost, and price, than two or more firms. In other words, if two or more firms try to supply the same good, the market will "naturally" end up with just one.

     See also | monopoly | market control | capital | regulation | average-cost pricing | marginal-cost pricing | industry regulation | regulation | public utility |


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RESOURCE MARKETS

Markets that exchange the services of the four factors of production--labor, capital, land, and entrepreneurship. The buyer of factor services is business sector. The seller of these services is the household sector. The study of macroeconomics is concerned with imbalances in the resource markets, especially surpluses and the resulting unemployment of resources. The resource markets, also termed factor markets, are one of three primary sets of macroeconomic markets. The other two are product markets and financial markets.

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