1 What is an oligopoly?
An oligopoly is a business market that is controlled by only a small group of firms. As opposed to a monopoly (only one firm) or a duopoly (two firms) an oligopoly is defined by having three or more businesses involved. It could be described as a market with only a small amount of competition. The oligopoly relates to sellers within the market, not buyers, so the sales market would only be controlled by a small number of businesses. This usually means that a decision or financial step made by one company will directly affect the other companies in the market. A good example of an oligopoly would be the US wireless market. There are some advantages for oligopoly; The first and most obvious advantage of an oligopoly is the ability to fix prices. With a small number of companies selling products in the market, it is not uncommon to find that the companies have discussed or proposed a cost for products, so fixing the price, and therefore profits, for all the companies. Another advantage is that it is very difficult for new businesses to attempt to enter the market, as this usually means that the smaller company will be bullied out by the bigger companies who are in the driving seat of the market and are able to dictate the market more than the smaller company. The term 'perfect knowledge' is also used with oligopolies. This is the idea that, because of the control that few firms have on the market, each firm has a perfect knowledge of the market and the product, making the market more stable.
2 What are some of the reasons for oligopolistic market structures? There are many reasons to explain why an oligopoly market is a more realistic one. The market for many products in major countries is characterized by a few big sellers. For sports shoes, it has been Nike and Reebok. For soft drinks — Coke & Pepsi. For computers — IBM and Apple. For cars and electrical good only a few names are recurrent. One reason to explain is the large...
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