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Tra My Nguyen Magda IB1

Economics HL Essay


a) Outline the ways in which monopoly power might arise.

b) Should governments seek to control the growth of monopoly

a) [602 words]

The monopolist is the sole producer in an industry. In order to remain

monopolist, the firm must be able to prevent other firms from entering the
industry. The ways to prevent other firms from entering the industry are
known as barriers to entry. There are a number of possible barriers to entry,
such as: legal barriers, sunk costs, capital costs, scale economies, natural
monopoly, anti-competitive practices and marketing barriers including
advertising. The higher the barriers, the stronger the monopoly power.
Therefore, to arise the monopoly power, barriers to entry should be

Legal barriers occurs when a firm is given a legal right to be the only
producer in an industry (The legal right to be a monopoly). This will arise
monopoly power because when a firm is going to invest knowing that it
might be copied, they would be little incentive to do so. But if they want to
invest and they are guaranteed not to be copied, they would be more likely to
invest more time and more money. Therefore, the stronger the legal barriers,
the stronger the monopoly power.

Sunk costs are the costs that if a firm wants to entry the industry, it has to
pay that costs. They are additional and invisible costs, but entrants must pay
them. If the costs are high, firms will be less likely to entry the industry, if
the costs are quite small, the firms will tend to entry more and more. Or
similar to the capital cost, which is the opportunity cost of the funds
employed as the result of an investment decision. So the higher the costs, the
stronger the monopoly power.

Tra My Nguyen Magda IB1
Economics HL Essay

Economies of scale is when firms gain average cost advantages as their size
increases. Every large monopoly is experiencing scale economies that come
from expertise in the industry. Any firm that wants to enter the industry
usually starts up in a relatively small way, or even in a same size as the
monopolist, it will not have the economies of scale that are enjoyed by the
monopolist. That is because if any firm enters the industry, the existing
monopoly will just have to reduce price to the level of normal profits, where
new entrants will make be making losses because the averare costs are
higher than the revenue earned at the level of normal profits. So to prevent
other firms from enetring the industry, the monopoly should enlarge its
economies of scale, because lack of ecnomies of scale acts as a deterrent to
firms that might want to enter a monopoly industry.

An industry is a natural monopoly if there are only enough economies of

scale available in the market to support one firm.

(diagram Natural Monopoly)

Price ($)


D1 = AR1

D2 = AR2

Q1 Q demanded

Tra My Nguyen Magda IB1
Economics HL Essay

When a new firm enters the industry, the monopolist shifts the demand
curve to the left, from D1 to D2, where average cost is much higher then
average revenue and therefore, both firms will make losses. However, the
strong monopolist can sustain that losses and pushes the new firm out of

Anti-competitive behavior takes place when the current monopoly is able

to start a “price war” with any firm that is entering the industry. Meaning,
when a new entrant wants to enter the industry, the current monopolist can
lower its price to a loss-making level and sustain longer than the new
entrant, so that the entrant must leave the industry. Then to arise the
monopoly power here, the monopolist needs to raise its position to a very
strong level, so that it will be possible to lower the price in order to force the
new firm out of the industry.


Monopoly power, in other words, barriers to entry or price descrimination,

is defined as a degree of price setting power held by a supplier on the basis
of its market share. And whether or not should the government control the
monopoly power, there is a need to dive into some aspects of the matter.

First of all, if the government control the monopoly power, that will
influence the production of monopolist.