Perfect competition

Perfect competition

Overview
In economic theory, perfect competition describes markets such that no participants are large enough to have the market power
Market power
In economics, market power is the ability of a firm to alter the market price of a good or service. In perfectly competitive markets, market participants have no market power. A firm with market power can raise prices without losing its customers to competitors...

 to set the price of a homogeneous product. Because the conditions for perfect competition are strict, there are few if any perfectly competitive markets. Still, buyers and sellers in some auction
Auction
An auction is a process of buying and selling goods or services by offering them up for bid, taking bids, and then selling the item to the highest bidder...

-type markets, say for commodities or some financial assets, may approximate the concept.
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Encyclopedia
In economic theory, perfect competition describes markets such that no participants are large enough to have the market power
Market power
In economics, market power is the ability of a firm to alter the market price of a good or service. In perfectly competitive markets, market participants have no market power. A firm with market power can raise prices without losing its customers to competitors...

 to set the price of a homogeneous product. Because the conditions for perfect competition are strict, there are few if any perfectly competitive markets. Still, buyers and sellers in some auction
Auction
An auction is a process of buying and selling goods or services by offering them up for bid, taking bids, and then selling the item to the highest bidder...

-type markets, say for commodities or some financial assets, may approximate the concept. Perfect competition serves as a benchmark against which to measure real-life and imperfectly competitive markets.

Basic structural characteristics


Generally, a perfectly competitive market exists when every participant is a "price taker", and no participant influences the price of the product it buys or sells. Specific characteristics may include:
  • Infinite buyers and sellers – Infinite consumers with the willingness and ability to buy the product at a certain price, and infinite producers with the willingness and ability to supply the product at a certain price.
  • Zero entry and exit barriers – It is relatively easy for a business to enter or exit in a perfectly competitive market.
  • Perfect factor mobility - In the long run factors of production
    Factors of production
    In economics, factors of production means inputs and finished goods means output. Input determines the quantity of output i.e. output depends upon input. Input is the starting point and output is the end point of production process and such input-output relationship is called a production function...

     are perfectly mobile allowing free long term adjustments to changing market conditions.
  • Perfect information - Prices and quality of products are assumed to be known to all consumers and producers.
  • Zero transaction costs - Buyers and sellers incur no costs in making an exchange (perfect mobility).
  • Profit maximization - Firms aim to sell where marginal costs meet marginal revenue, where they generate the most profit.
  • Homogeneous products – The characteristics of any given market good or service do not vary across suppliers.
  • Non-increasing returns to scale - Non-increasing returns to scale
    Returns to scale
    In economics, returns to scale and economies of scale are related terms that describe what happens as the scale of production increases in the long run, when all input levels including physical capital usage are variable...

     ensure that there are sufficient firms in the industry.


In the short term, perfectly-competitive markets are not productively efficient
Productive efficiency
Productive efficiency occurs when the economy is utilizing all of its resources efficiently, producing most output from least input. The concept is illustrated on a production possibility frontier where all points on the curve are points of maximum productive efficiency...

 as output will not occur where marginal cost
Marginal cost
In economics and finance, marginal cost is the change in total cost that arises when the quantity produced changes by one unit. That is, it is the cost of producing one more unit of a good...

 is equal to average cost
Average cost
In economics, average cost or unit cost is equal to total cost divided by the number of goods produced . It is also equal to the sum of average variable costs plus average fixed costs...

, but allocatively efficient
Allocative efficiency
Allocative efficiency is a theoretical measure of the benefit or utility derived from a proposed or actual selection in the allocation or allotment of resources....

, as output will always occur where marginal cost is equal to marginal revenue
Marginal revenue
In microeconomics, marginal revenue is the extra revenue that an additional unit of product will bring. It is the additional income from selling one more unit of a good; sometimes equal to price...

, and therefore where marginal cost equals average revenue. In the long term, such markets are both allocatively and productively efficient.

Under perfect competition, any profit-maximizing producer faces a market price equal to its marginal cost
Marginal cost
In economics and finance, marginal cost is the change in total cost that arises when the quantity produced changes by one unit. That is, it is the cost of producing one more unit of a good...

. This implies that a factor's price equals the factor's marginal revenue product. This allows for derivation of the supply curve on which the neoclassical approach is based. (This is also the reason why "a monopoly
Monopoly
A monopoly exists when a specific person or enterprise is the only supplier of a particular commodity...

 does not have a supply curve.") The abandonment of price taking creates considerable difficulties to the demonstration of existence of a general equilibrium
General equilibrium
General equilibrium theory is a branch of theoretical economics. It seeks to explain the behavior of supply, demand and prices in a whole economy with several or many interacting markets, by seeking to prove that a set of prices exists that will result in an overall equilibrium, hence general...

 except under other, very specific conditions such as that of monopolistic competition
Monopolistic competition
Monopolistic competition is imperfect competition where many competing producers sell products that are differentiated from one another...

.

Approaches and conditions


In neoclassical economics there have been two strands of looking at what perfect competition is. The first emphasis is on the inability of any one agent to affect prices. This is usually justified by the fact that any one firm or consumer is so small relative to the whole market that their presence or absence leaves the equilibrium price very nearly unaffected. This assumption of negligible impact of each agent on the equilibrium price has been formalized by Aumann
Robert Aumann
Robert John Aumann is an Israeli-American mathematician and a member of the United States National Academy of Sciences. He is a professor at the Center for the Study of Rationality in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel...

 (1964) by postulating a continuum of infinitesimal agents. The difference between Aumann’s approach and that found in undergraduate textbooks is that in the first, agents have the power to choose their own prices but do not individually affect the market price, while in the second it is simply assumed that agents treat prices as parameters. Both approaches lead to the same result.

The second view of perfect competition conceives of it in terms of agents taking advantage of – and hence, eliminating – profitable exchange opportunities. The faster this arbitrage
Arbitrage
In economics and finance, arbitrage is the practice of taking advantage of a price difference between two or more markets: striking a combination of matching deals that capitalize upon the imbalance, the profit being the difference between the market prices...

 takes place, the more competitive a market. The implication is that the more competitive a market is under this definition, the faster the average market price will adjust so as to equate supply and demand (and also equate price to marginal costs). In this view, "perfect" competition means that this adjustment takes place instantaneously. This is usually modeled via the use of the Walrasian auctioneer (see article for more information). The widespread recourse to the auctioneer tale appears to have favored an interpretation of perfect competition as meaning price taking always, i.e. also at non-equilibrium prices; but this is rejected e.g. by Arrow (1959) or Mas-Colell et al.

Steve Keen
Steve Keen
Steve Keen is a Professor in economics and finance at the University of Western Sydney. He classes himself as a post-Keynesian, criticizing both modern neoclassical economics and Marxian economics as inconsistent, unscientific and empirically unsupported...

 notes, following George Stigler, that if firms do not react strategically to one another, the slope of the demand curve that a firm faces is the same as the slope of the market demand curve. Hence, if firms are to produce at a level that equates marginal cost and marginal revenue, the model of perfect competition must include at least an infinite number of firms, each producing an output quantity of zero. As noted above, an influential model of perfect competition in neoclassical economics
Neoclassical economics
Neoclassical economics is a term variously used for approaches to economics focusing on the determination of prices, outputs, and income distributions in markets through supply and demand, often mediated through a hypothesized maximization of utility by income-constrained individuals and of profits...

 assumes that the number of buyers and sellers are both of the power of the continuum, that is, an infinity even larger than the number of natural numbers. K. Vela Velupillai
Vela Velupillai
Kumaraswamy Velupillai is an academic economist.He is a Professor of Economics - 'Professore di Chiara Fama' - in the department of economics at the University of Trento, Italy. Till recently he was the John E. Cairnes Professor of Economics at the National University of Ireland, Galway and a...

 quotes Maury Osborne as noting the inapplicability of such models to actual economies since money and the commodities sold each have a smallest positive unit.

Thus nowadays the dominant intuitive idea of the conditions justifying price taking and thus rendering a market perfectly competitive is an amalgam of several different notions, not all present, nor given equal weight, in all treatments. Besides product homogeneity and absence of collusion, the notion more generally associated with perfect competition is the negligibility of the size of agents, which makes them believe that they can sell as much of the good as they wish at the equilibrium price but nothing at a higher price (in particular, firms are described as each one of them facing a horizontal demand curve). However, also widely accepted as part of the notion of perfectly competitive market are perfect information about price distribution and very quick adjustments (whose joint operation establish the law of one price
Law of one price
The law of one price is an economic law stated as: "In an efficient market, all identical goods must have only one price."-Intuition:The intuition for this law is that all sellers will flock to the highest prevailing price, and all buyers to the lowest current market price. In an efficient market...

), to the point sometimes of identifying perfect competition with an essentially instantaneous reaching of equilibrium between supply and demand. Finally, the idea of free entry with free access to technology is also often listed as a characteristic of perfectly competitive markets, probably owing to a difficulty with abandoning completely the older conception of free competition. In recent decades it has been rediscovered that free entry can be a foundation of absence of market power, alternative to negligibility of agents.

Free entry also makes it easier to justify the absence of collusion: any collusion by existing firms can be undermined by entry of new firms. The necessarily long-period nature of the analysis (entry requires time!) also allows a reconciliation of the horizontal demand curve facing each firm according to the theory, with the feeling of businessmen that "contrary to economic theory, sales are by no means unlimited at the current market price" (Arrow 1959 p. 49). Sraffian economists
Piero Sraffa
Piero Sraffa was an influential Italian economist whose book Production of Commodities by Means of Commodities is taken as founding the Neo-Ricardian school of Economics.- Early life :...

 see the assumption of free entry and exit as characteristic of the theory of free competition in Classical economics
Classical economics
Classical economics is widely regarded as the first modern school of economic thought. Its major developers include Adam Smith, Jean-Baptiste Say, David Ricardo, Thomas Malthus and John Stuart Mill....

, an approach that is not expressed in terms of schedules of supply and demand.

Results


In a perfectly competitive market, a firm
Theory of the firm
The theory of the firm consists of a number of economic theories that describe the nature of the firm, company, or corporation, including its existence, behavior, structure, and relationship to the market.-Overview:...

's demand curve
Demand curve
In economics, the demand curve is the graph depicting the relationship between the price of a certain commodity, and the amount of it that consumers are willing and able to purchase at that given price. It is a graphic representation of a demand schedule...

 is perfectly elastic.

As mentioned above, the perfect competition model, if interpreted as applying also to short-period or very-short-period behaviour, is approximated only by markets of homogeneous products produced and purchased by very many sellers and buyers, usually organized markets for agricultural products or raw materials. In real-world markets, assumptions such as perfect information cannot be verified and are only approximated in organized double-auction markets where most agents wait and observe the behaviour of prices before deciding to exchange (but in the long-period interpretation perfect information is not necessary, the analysis only aims at determining the average around which market prices gravitate, and for gravitation to operate one does not need perfect information).

In the absence of externalities and public goods, perfectly competitive equilibria are Pareto-efficient, i.e. no improvement in the utility of a consumer is possible without a worsening of the utility of some other consumer. This is called the First Theorem of Welfare Economics. The basic reason is that no productive factor with a non-zero marginal product is left unutilized, and the units of each factor are so allocated as to yield the same indirect marginal utility in all uses, a basic efficiency condition (if this indirect marginal utility were higher in one use than in other ones, a Pareto improvement could be achieved by transferring a small amount of the factor to the use where it yields a higher marginal utility).

A simple proof assuming differentiable utility functions and production functions is the following. Let wj be the 'price' (the rental) of a certain factor j, let MPj1 and MPj2 be its marginal product
Marginal product
In economics and in particular neoclassical economics, the marginal product or marginal physical product of an input is the extra output that can be produced by using one more unit of the input , assuming that the quantities of no other inputs to production...

 in the production of goods 1 and 2, and let p1 and p2 be these goods' prices. In equilibrium these prices must equal the respective marginal costs MC1 and MC2; remember that marginal cost
Marginal cost
In economics and finance, marginal cost is the change in total cost that arises when the quantity produced changes by one unit. That is, it is the cost of producing one more unit of a good...

 equals factor 'price' divided by factor marginal productivity (because increasing the production of good by one very small unit through an increase of the employment of factor j requires increasing the factor employment by 1/MPji and thus increasing the cost by wj/MPji, and through the condition of cost minimization that marginal products must be proportional to factor 'prices' it can be shown that the cost increase is the same if the output increase is obtained by optimally varying all factors). Optimal factor employment by a price-taking firm requires equality of factor rental and factor marginal revenue product, wj=piMPji, so we obtain p1=MC1=wj/MPj1, p2=MCj2=wj/MPj2.

Now choose any consumer purchasing both goods, and measure his utility in such units that in equilibrium his marginal utility of money (the increase in utility due to the last unit of money spent on each good), MU1/p1=MU2/p2, is 1. Then p1=MU1, p2=MU2. The indirect marginal utility of the factor is the increase in the utility of our consumer achieved by an increase in the employment of the factor by one (very small) unit; this increase in utility through allocating the small increase in factor utilization to good 1 is MPj1MU1=MPj1p1=wj, and through allocating it to good 2 it is MPj2MU2=MPj2p2=wj again. With our choice of units the marginal utility of the amount of the factor consumed directly by the optimizing consumer is again w, so the amount supplied of the factor too satisfies the condition of optimal allocation.

Monopoly violates this optimal allocation condition, because in a monopolized industry market price is above marginal cost, and this means that factors are underutilized in the monopolized industry, they have a higher indirect marginal utility than in their uses in competitive industries. Of course this theorem is considered irrelevant by economists who do not believe that general equilibrium theory correctly predicts the functioning of market economies; but it is given great importance by neoclassical economists and it is the theoretical reason given by them for combating monopolies and for antitrust legislation.

Profit


In contrast to a monopoly
Monopoly
A monopoly exists when a specific person or enterprise is the only supplier of a particular commodity...

 or oligopoly
Oligopoly
An oligopoly is a market form in which a market or industry is dominated by a small number of sellers . The word is derived, by analogy with "monopoly", from the Greek ὀλίγοι "few" + πόλειν "to sell". Because there are few sellers, each oligopolist is likely to be aware of the actions of the others...

, it is impossible for a firm in perfect competition to earn economic profit in the long run, which is to say that a firm cannot make any more money than is necessary to cover its economic costs. In order not to misinterpret this zero-long-run-profits thesis, it must be remembered that the term 'profit' is also used in other ways. Neoclassical theory defines profit as what is left of revenue after all costs have been subtracted, including normal interest on capital plus the normal excess over it required to cover risk, and normal salary for managerial activity. Classical economists on the contrary defined profit as what is left after subtracting costs except interest and risk coverage; thus, if one leaves aside risk coverage for simplicity, the neoclassical zero-long-run-profit thesis would be re-expressed in classical parlance as profits coinciding with interest in the long period, i.e. the rate of profit tending to coincide with the rate of interest. Profits in the classical meaning do not tend to disappear in the long period but tend to normal profit. With this terminology, if a firm is earning abnormal profit in the short term, this will act as a trigger for other firms to enter the market. As other firms enter the market the market supply curve will shift out causing prices to fall. Existing firms will react to this lower price by adjusting their capital stock downward. This adjustment will cause their marginal cost to shift to the left causing the market supply curve to shift inward. However, the net effect of entry by new firms and adjustment by existing firms will be to shift the supply curve outward. The market price will be driven down until all firms are earning normal profit only.

It is important to note that perfect competition is a sufficient condition for allocative and productive efficiency, but it is not a necessary condition. Laboratory experiments in which participants have significant price setting power and little or no information about their counterparts consistently produce efficient results given the proper trading institutions.

The shutdown point


In the short run, a firm operating at a loss [R < TC (revenue less than total cost) or P < ATC (price less than unit cost)] must decide whether to continue to operate or temporarily shutdown. The shutdown rule states "in the short run a firm should continue to operate if price exceeds average variable costs." Restated, the rule is that for a firm to continue producing in the short run it must earn sufficient revenue to cover its variable costs. The rationale for the rule is straightforward. By shutting down a firm avoids all variable costs. However, the firm must still pay fixed costs. Because fixed cost must be paid regardless of whether a firm operates they should not be considered in deciding whether to produce or shutdown.
Thus in determining whether to shut down a firm should compare total revenue to total variable costs (VC) rather than total costs (FC + VC). If the revenue the firm is receiving is greater than its total variable cost (R > VC) then the firm is covering all variable cost plus there is additional revenue (“contribution”), which can be applied to fixed costs. (The size of the fixed costs is irrelevant as it is a sunk cost. The same consideration is used whether fixed costs are one dollar or one million dollars.) On the other hand if VC > R then the firm is not even covering its production costs and it should immediately shut down. The rule is conventionally stated in terms of price (average revenue) and average variable costs. The rules are equivalent (If you divide both sides of inequality TR > TVC by Q gives P > AVC). If the firm decides to operate, the firm will continue to produce where marginal revenue equals marginal costs because these conditions insure not only profit maximization (loss minimization) but also maximum contribution.

Another way to state the rule is that a firm should compare the profits from operating to those realized if it shutdown and select the option that produces the greater profit. A firm that is shutdown is generating zero revenue and incurring no variable costs. However, the firm still has to pay fixed cost. So the firm’s profit equals fixed costs or (- FC). An operating firm is generating revenue, incurring variable costs and paying fixed costs. The operating firm's profit is R - VC - FC. The firm should continue to operate if R - VC - FC ≥ - FC which simplified is R ≥ VC.[ The difference between revenue, R, and variable costs, VC, is the contribution to fixed costs and any contribution is better than none. Thus, if R ≥ VC then firm should operate. If R < VC the firm should shut down.

A decision to shut down means that the firm is temporarily suspending production. It does not mean that the firm is going out of business (exiting the industry).] If market conditions improve, and prices increase, the firm can resume production. Shutting down is a short-run decision. A firm that has shut down is not producing. The firm still retains its capital assets; however, the firm cannot leave the industry or avoid its fixed costs in the short run. Exit is a long-term decision. A firm that has exited an industry has avoided all commitments and freed all capital for use in more profitable enterprises.

However, a firm cannot continue to incur losses indefinitely. In the long run, the firm will have to earn sufficient revenue to cover all its expenses and must decide whether to continue in business or to leave the industry and pursue profits elsewhere. The long-run decision is based on the relationship of the price and long-run average costs. If P ≥ AC then the firm will not exit the industry. If P < AC, then the firm will exit the industry. These comparisons will be made after the firm has made the necessary and feasible long-term adjustments. In the long run a firm operates where marginal revenue equals long-run marginal costs.

Short-run supply curve


The short run supply curve for a perfectly competitive firm is the marginal cost (MC) curve at and above the shutdown point. Portions of the marginal cost curve below the shut down point are not part of the SR supply curve because the firm is not producing in that range. Technically the SR supply curve is a discontinuous function composed of the segment of the MC curve at and above minimum of the average variable cost curve and a segment that runs with the vertical axis from the origin to but not including a point "parallel" to minimum average variable costs.

Examples


Perhaps the closest thing to a perfectly competitive market would be a large auction of identical goods with all potential buyers and sellers present. By design, a stock exchange
Stock exchange
A stock exchange is an entity that provides services for stock brokers and traders to trade stocks, bonds, and other securities. Stock exchanges also provide facilities for issue and redemption of securities and other financial instruments, and capital events including the payment of income and...

 resembles this, not as a complete description (for no markets may satisfy all requirements of the model) but as an approximation. The flaw in considering the stock exchange as an example of Perfect Competition is the fact that large institutional investors (e.g. investment banks) may solely influence the market price. This, of course, violates the condition that "no one seller can influence market price".

Free software
Free software
Free software, software libre or libre software is software that can be used, studied, and modified without restriction, and which can be copied and redistributed in modified or unmodified form either without restriction, or with restrictions that only ensure that further recipients can also do...

 works along lines that approximate perfect competition. Anyone is free to enter and leave the market at no cost. All code is freely accessible and modifiable, and individuals are free to behave independently. Free software may be bought or sold at whatever price that the market may allow.

Some believe that one of the prime examples of a perfectly competitive market anywhere in the world is street food in developing countries. This is so since relatively few barriers to entry/exit exist for street vendors. Furthermore, there are often numerous buyers and sellers of a given street food, in addition to consumers/sellers possessing perfect information of the product in question. It is often the case that street vendors may serve a homogenous product, in which little to no variations in the product's nature exist.

Another very near example of perfect competition would be the fish market and the vegetable or fruit vendors who sell at the same place, the bars in "Le Carré" (Liège, Belgium) or the "kebab street" near the Grand Place in Brussels:
  1. There are large number of buyers and sellers.
  2. There are no entry or exit barriers.
  3. There is perfect mobility of the factors,i.e. buyers can easily switch from one seller to the other.
  4. The products are homogenous.

Criticisms


The use of the assumption of perfect competition as the foundation of price theory for product markets is often criticized as representing all agents as passive, thus removing the active attempts to increase one's welfare or profits by price undercutting, product design, advertising, innovation, activities that - the critics argue - characterize most industries and markets. These criticisms point to the frequent lack of realism of the assumptions of product homogeneity and impossibility to differentiate it, but apart from this the accusation of passivity appears correct only for short-period or very-short-period analyses, in long-period analyses the inability of price to diverge from the natural or long-period price is due to active reactions of entry or exit.

Some economists have a different kind of criticism concerning perfect competition model. They are not criticizing the price taker assumption because it makes economic agents too "passive", but because it then raises the question of who sets the prices. Indeed, if everyone is price taker, there is the need for a benevolent planner who gives and sets the prices, in other word, there is a need for a "price maker". Therefore, it makes the perfect competition model appropriate not to describe a decentralize "market" economy but a centralized one. This in turn means that such kind of model has more to do with communism than capitalism.

Another frequent criticism is that it is often not true that in the short run differences between supply and demand cause changes in price; especially in manufacturing, the more common behaviour is alteration of production without nearly any alteration of price. Anyway, the critics of the assumption of perfect competition in product markets seldom question the basic neoclassical view of the working of market economies for this reason. The Neo-Austrian school
Austrian School
The Austrian School of economics is a heterodox school of economic thought. It advocates methodological individualism in interpreting economic developments , the theory that money is non-neutral, the theory that the capital structure of economies consists of heterogeneous goods that have...

 insists strongly on this criticism, and yet the neoclassical view of the working of market economies as fundamentally efficient, reflecting consumer choices and assigning to each agent his contribution to social welfare, is esteemed to be fundamentally correct Some non-neoclassical schools, like Post-Keynesians, reject the neoclassical approach to value and distribution, but not because of their rejection of perfect competition as a reasonable approximation to the working of most product markets; the reasons for rejection of the neoclassical 'vision' are different views of the determinants of income distribution and of aggregated demand.

In particular, the rejection of perfect competition does not generally entail the rejection of free competition as characterizing most product markets; indeed it has been argued that competition is stronger nowadays than in 19th century capitalism, owing to the increasing capacity of big conglomerate firms to enter any industry: therefore the classical idea of a tendency toward a uniform rate of return on investment in all industries owing to free entry is even more valid today; and the reason why General Motors
General Motors
General Motors Company , commonly known as GM, formerly incorporated as General Motors Corporation, is an American multinational automotive corporation headquartered in Detroit, Michigan and the world's second-largest automaker in 2010...

, Texxon or Nestle
Nestlé
Nestlé S.A. is the world's largest food and nutrition company. Founded and headquartered in Vevey, Switzerland, Nestlé originated in a 1905 merger of the Anglo-Swiss Milk Company, established in 1867 by brothers George Page and Charles Page, and Farine Lactée Henri Nestlé, founded in 1866 by Henri...

 do not enter the computers or pharmaceutical industries is not insurmountable barriers to entry but rather that the rate of return in the latter industries is already sufficiently in line with the average rate of return elsewhere as not to justify entry. On this few economists, it would seem, would disagree, even among the neoclassical ones. Thus when the issue is normal, or long-period, product prices, differences on the validity of the perfect competition assumption do not appear to imply important differences on the existence or not of a tendency of rates of return toward uniformity as long as entry is possible, and what is found fundamentally lacking in the perfect competition model is the absence of marketing expenses and innovation as causes of costs that do enter normal average cost.

The issue is different with respect to factor markets. Here the acceptance or denial of perfect competition in labour markets does make a big difference to the view of the working of market economies. One must distinguish neoclassical from non-neoclassical economists. For the former, absence of perfect competition in labour markets, e.g. due to the existence of trade unions, impedes the smooth working of competition, which if left free to operate would cause a decrease of wages as long as there were unemployment, and would finally ensure the full employment of labour: labour unemployment is due to absence of perfect competition in labour markets. Most non-neoclassical economists deny that a full flexibility of wages would ensure the full employment of labour and find a stickiness of wages an indispensable component of a market economy, without which the economy would lack the regularity and persistence indispensable to its smooth working. This was, for example, John Maynard Keynes
John Maynard Keynes
John Maynard Keynes, Baron Keynes of Tilton, CB FBA , was a British economist whose ideas have profoundly affected the theory and practice of modern macroeconomics, as well as the economic policies of governments...

's opinion.

Particularly radical is the view of the Sraffian school on this issue: the labour demand curve cannot be determined hence a level of wages ensuring the equality between supply and demand for labour does not exist, and economics should resume the viewpoint of the classical economists, according to whom competition in labour markets does not and cannot mean indefinite price flexibility as long as supply and demand are unequal, it only means a tendency to equality of wages for similar work, but the level of wages is necessarily determined by complex sociopolitical elements; custom, feelings of justice, informal allegiances to classes, as well as overt coalitions such as trade unions, far from being impediments to a smooth working of labour markets that would be able to determine wages even without these elements, are on the contrary indispensable because without them there would be no way to determine wages.

Equilibrium in Perfect Competition


Equilibrium in perfect competition is that point where market demands will equal to market supply. Firm's price will be determined at this point. In short run, equilibrium will be affected from demand. In long run, both demand and supply of product will affect the equilibrium in perfect competition. Firm will receive only normal profit in long run at the equilibrium point.

See also

  • Contestable market
    Contestable market
    In economics, the theory of contestable markets, associated primarily with its 1982 proponent William J. Baumol, holds that there exist markets served by a small number of firms, which are nevertheless characterized by competitive equilibria because of the existence of potential short-term...

  • Imperfect competition
    Imperfect competition
    In economic theory, imperfect competition is the competitive situation in any market where the conditions necessary for perfect competition are not satisfied...

  • Monopolistic competition
    Monopolistic competition
    Monopolistic competition is imperfect competition where many competing producers sell products that are differentiated from one another...

  • Microeconomics
    Microeconomics
    Microeconomics is a branch of economics that studies the behavior of how the individual modern household and firms make decisions to allocate limited resources. Typically, it applies to markets where goods or services are being bought and sold...

  • Bertrand competition
    Bertrand competition
    Bertrand competition is a model of competition used in economics, named after Joseph Louis François Bertrand . It describes interactions among firms that set prices and their customers that choose quantities at that price....

  • Cournot competition
    Cournot competition
    Cournot competition is an economic model used to describe an industry structure in which companies compete on the amount of output they will produce, which they decide on independently of each other and at the same time. It is named after Antoine Augustin Cournot who was inspired by observing...

  • Atomistic market
    Atomistic market
    In an atomistic market, each seller's size is so small, relative to the market as a whole, that it has no appreciable effect on price. As a result, such sellers have no market power. This structure is consistent with perfect competition....