What is Monopolistic Competition? Explain in detail the features of Monopolistic Competition.
Monopolistic competition is very realistic in nature. In this market, there are some features of perfect competition and some features of monopoly acting together. Prof. E. H. Chamberlin coined this concept in his book “Theory of Monopolistic Competition” which was published in 1933.
According to Chamberlin, “Monopolistic competition refers to competition among a large number of sellers producing close but not perfect substitutes.”
Following are the main features of monopolistic competition:
- Fairly large number of sellers:
In monopolistic competition, the number of sellers is large but comparatively, it is less than that of perfect competition. Due to this reason, sellers’ behaviour is like a monopoly.
- Fairly large number of buyers:
In this market, there are fairly large numbers of buyers. Consequently, no single buyer can influence the price of the product by changing his individual demand.
- Product differentiation:
Product differentiation is the main feature of monopolistic competition. In this market, there are many firms producing a particular product, but the product of each firm is in some way differentiated from the product of every other firm in the market. This is known as product differentiation. Product differentiation may take the form of brand names, trademarks, a peculiarity of package or container, shape, quality, cover, design, colour, etc. This means that the product of a firm may find close substitutes and its cross elasticity of demand is very high. For example, mobile handsets, cold drinks, etc.
- Free entry and exit:
Under monopolistic competition there is freedom of entry and exit, It means new firms are free to enter the market if there is profit. Similarly, they can leave the market, if they find it difficult to survive.
- Selling Cost:
Selling cost is peculiar to monopolistic competition only. It refers to the cost incurred by the firm to create more demand for its product and thus increase the volume of sales. It includes expenditure on advertisements, radio and television broadcasts, hoardings, exhibitions, window display, free gifts, free samples, etc.
- Close substitutes:
In monopolistic competition, goods have close substitutes for each other. For example, different brands of soaps, toothpaste, etc.
- Concept of group:
Under monopolistic competition, Prof. Chamberlin introduced the concept of ‘Group’ in place of industry. Industry means the number of firms producing ‘identical’ products. A ‘Group’ means a number of firms producing ‘differentiated’ products that are closely related.