Barriers to entry

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Competition law Basic concepts
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History of competition law Monopoly o Coercive monopoly o Natural monopoly Barriers to entry Market power SSNIP test Relevant market

Merger control Anti-competitive practices • Monopolization • Collusion o Formation of cartels o Price fixing o Bid rigging • Product bundling and tying • Refusal to deal o Group boycott o Essential facilities • Exclusive dealing • Dividing territories • Conscious parallelism • Predatory pricing

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In theories of competition in economics, barriers to entry are obstacles that make it difficult to enter a given market.[1] The term can refer to hindrances a firm faces in trying to enter a market or industry - such as government regulation, or a large, established firm taking advantage of economies of scale - or those an individual faces in trying to gain entrance to a profession - such as education or licensing requirements. Because barriers to entry protect incumbent firms and restrict competition in a market, they can contribute to distortionary prices. The existence of monopolies or market power is often aided by barriers to entry.

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1 Definitions 2 Barriers to entry for firms into a market 3 Barriers to entry for individuals into the job market 4 Classification and examples 5 Barriers to entry and market structure 6 See also 7 References

[edit] Definitions
George Stigler defined an entry barrier as “A cost of producing which must be borne by a firm which seeks to enter an industry but is not borne by firms already in the industry”.[2]

A barrier to entry is anything that prevents entry when entry is socially beneficial
—Diagnosing Monopoly (1979)[3], Franklin M. Fisher

Joe S. Bain defined as a barrier to entry anything that allows incumbent firms to earn supranormal profits without threat of entry.[4]

[edit] Barriers to entry for firms into a market
Barriers to entry into markets for firms include:

Advertising - Incumbent firms can seek to make it difficult for new competitors by spending heavily on advertising that new firms would find more difficult to afford. This is known as the market power theory of advertising.[5] Here, established firms' use of advertising creates a consumer perceived difference in its

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brand from other brands to a degree that consumers see its brand as a slightly different product.[5] Since the brand is seen as a slightly different product, products from existing or potential competitors cannot be perfectly substituted in place of the established firm's brand.[5] This makes it hard for new competitors to gain consumer acceptance.[5] Capital - need the capital to start up such as equipment, building, and raw materials Control of resources - If a single firm has control of a resource essential for a certain industry, then other firms are unable to compete in the industry. Cost advantages independent of scale - Proprietary technology, know-how, favorable access to raw materials, favorable geographic locations, learning curve cost advantages. Customer loyalty - Large incumbent firms may have existing customers loyal to established products. The presence of established strong brands within a market can be a barrier to entry in this case. Distributor agreements - Exclusive agreements with key distributors or retailers can make it difficult for other manufacturers to enter the industry. Economy of scale - Large, experienced firms can generally produce goods at lower costs than small, inexperienced firms. Cost advantages can sometimes be quickly reversed by advances in technology. For example, the development of personal computers has allowed small companies to make use of database and communications technology which was once extremely expensive and only available to large corporations. Government regulations - It may make entry more difficult or impossible. In the extreme case, a government may make competition illegal and establish a statutory monopoly. Requirements for licenses and permits may raise the investment needed to enter a market, creating an effective barrier to entry. Inelastic demand - One strategy to penetrate a market is to sell at a lower price than the incumbents. This is ineffective with price-insensitive consumers. Intellectual property - Potential entrant requires access to equally efficient production technology as the combatant monopolist in order to freely enter a market. Patents give a firm the legal right to stop other firms producing a product for a given period of time, and so restrict entry into a market. Patents are intended to encourage invention and technological progress by offering this financial incentive. Similarly, trademarks and servicemarks may represent a kind of entry barrier for a particular product or service if the market is dominated by one or a few well-known names. Investment - That is especially in industries with economies of scale and/or natural monopolies. Network effect - When a good or service has a value that depends on the number of existing customers, then competing players may have difficulties in entering a market where an established company has already captured a significant user base. Predatory pricing - The practice of a dominant firm selling at a loss to make competition more difficult for new firms that cannot suffer such losses, as a large

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dominant firm with large lines of credit or cash reserves can. It is illegal in most places; however, it is difficult to prove. See antitrust. Restrictive practices, such as air transport agreements that make it difficult for new airlines to obtain landing slots at some airports. Research and development - Some products, such as microprocessors, require a large upfront investment in technology which will deter potential entrants. Supplier agreements - Exclusive agreements with key links in the supply chain can make it difficult for other manufacturers to enter an industry. Sunk costs - Sunk costs cannot be recovered if a firm decides to leave a market. Sunk costs therefore increase the risk and deter entry. Switching barriers - At times, it may be difficult or expensive for customers to switch providers Vertical integration - A firm's coverage of more than one level of production, while pursuing practices which favor its own operations at each level, is often cited as an entry barrier

[edit] Barriers to entry for individuals into the job market
Examples of barriers restricting individuals from entering a job market include educational, licensing, or quota limits on the number of people who can enter a certain profession such as that of lawyer, and educational, licensing, and experiential requirements for people who wish to be neurosurgeons. Whilst both types of barriers to entry attempt to guarantee that people entering those fields are suitably qualified, the barriers to entry also reduce competition. This has the effect of facilitating premium pricing for the services of regulated professions. That is, if just anyone could enter these fields, the income of the incumbents would be expected to be lower.

[edit] Classification and examples
Michael Porter classifies the markets into four general cases:
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High barrier to entry and high exit barrier (for example, telecommunications, energy) High barrier to entry and low exit barrier (for example, consulting, education) Low barrier to entry and high exit barrier (for example, hotels, ironworks) Low barrier to entry and low exit barrier (for example, retail, electronic commerce) Markets with high entry barriers have few players and thus high profit margins. Markets with low entry barriers have lots of players and thus low profit margins. Markets with high exit barriers are unstable and not self-regulated, so the profit margins fluctuate very much over time.

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Markets with a low exit barrier are stable and self-regulated, so the profit margins do not fluctuate much over time.

The higher the barriers to entry and exit, the more prone a market tends to be a natural monopoly. The reverse is also true. The lower the barriers, the more likely the market will become perfect competition.

[edit] Barriers to entry and market structure
1. 2. 3. 4. Perfect competition: Zero barriers to entry. Monopolistic competition: Low barriers to entry. Oligopoly: High barriers to entry. Monopoly: Very High to Absolute barriers to entry.

[edit] See also
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Anti-competitive practices Barriers to exit Exclusive dealing Market power Starting a Business Index Strategic entry deterrence Switching barriers Zero-profit condition

[edit] References
1. ^ Sullivan, Arthur; Steven M. Sheffrin (2003). Economics: Principles in action. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458: Pearson Prentice Hall. pp. 153. ISBN 0-13-063085-3. 2. ^ 3. ^ 4. ^ Tirole, Jean (1989). The Theory of Industrial Organization. Cambridge, Massachusetts, London, England: The MIT Press. pp. 305. ISBN 0-262-20071-6. 5. ^ a b c d Moffatt, Mike. (2008) The Market Power Theory of Advertising Economics Glossary - Terms Beginning with M. Accessed June 19, 2008. Categories: Anti-competitive behaviour | Monopoly (economics) | Imperfect competition
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barriers to entry
Barriers to entry are designed to block potential entrants from entering a market profitably. They seek to protect the monopoly power of existing (incumbent) firms in an industry and therefore maintain supernormal (monopoly) profits in the long run. Barriers to entry have the effect of making a market less contestable The economist Joseph Stigler defined an entry barrier as "A cost of producing (at some or every rate of output) which must be borne by a firm which seeks to enter an industry but is not borne by firms already in the industry" This emphasises the asymmetry in costs between the incumbent firm (already inside the market) and the potential entrant. If the existing businesses have managed to exploit some of the economies of scale that are available to firms in a particular industry, they have developed a cost advantage over potential entrants. They might use this advantage to cut prices if and when new suppliers enter the market, moving away from short run profit maximisation objectives - but designed to inflict losses on new firms and protect their market position in the long run. EXAMPLES OF BARRIERS TO ENTRY Patents Giving the firm the legal protection to produce a patented product for a number of years (see below) Limit Pricing Firms may adopt predatory pricing policies by lowering prices to a level that would force any new entrants to operate at a loss Cost advantages

Lower costs, perhaps through experience of being in the market for some time, allows the existing monopolist to cut prices and win price wars Advertising and marketing Developing consumer loyalty by establishing branded products can make successful entry into the market by new firms much more expensive. This is particularly important in markets such as cosmetics, confectionery and the motor car industry. Research and Development expenditure Heavy spending on research and development can act as a strong deterrent to potential entrants to an industry. Clearly much R&D spending goes on developing new products (see patents above) but there are also important spill-over effects which allow firms to improve their production processes and reduce unit costs. This makes the existing firms more competitive in the market and gives them a structural advantage over potential rival firms. Presence of sunk costs Some industries have very high start-up costs or a high ratio of fixed to variable costs. Some of these costs might be unrecoverable if an entrant opts to leave the market. This acts as a disincentive to enter the industry. International trade restrictions Trade restrictions such as tariffs and quotas should also be considered as a barrier to the entry of international competition in protected domestic markets. Sunk Costs Sunk Costs are costs that cannot be recovered if a businesses decides to leave an industry Examples include: " Capital inputs that are specific to a particular industry and which have little or no resale value " Money spent on advertising / marketing / research which cannot be carried forward into another market or industry When sunk costs are high, a market becomes less contestable. High sunk costs (including exit costs) act as a barrier to entry of new firms (they risk making huge losses if they decide to leave a market). A good example of substantial sunk costs occurred in 2001 when British Telecom announced it was scrapping its loss-making joint venture with US telecoms firm AT&T. The closure was estimated to lead to the loss of 2,300 jobs - almost 40% of Concert's workforce. And, it will cost BT $2bn (�1.4bn) in impairment charges and restructuring costs, and AT&T $5.3bn.