Types Of Oligopolies

by Indrajit Dutta; Updated September 26, 2017

An oligopoly is a non-competitive market form that is characterized by the presence of few numbers of buyers and relatively more numbers of sellers. In a monopoly, there is only one seller, in a duopoly there are only two sellers and in an oligopoly there are a few more sellers. In an oligopoly, the companies are able to exercise considerable control over the industry. The companies are able to price the products as per their discretions. There are barriers to entry in an oligopolistic market. New players find it difficult to enter such an industry.

Dominant Firm Model

This is a type of oligopoly in which the industry is made up of one large firm and a group of much smaller firms. The large firm holds a king-size of the market share and the smaller firms together compete for the smaller chunks of profits. The profitability scenario is determined by the bigger company. The bigger company also decides on the pricing of the goods and services. The smaller firms only follow suit and accordingly price their commodities.

Cournot Model

This oligopoly model has been developed by economist Antoine Augustin Cournot. It is based on the assumption that the industry is comprised of two equally positioned firms. The model also supposes that the two firms are competing with one another on a quantity basis, and not on the price basis. Both the firms produce the same quantities of output. The model functions on premises that the marginal costs will always remain constant and the demand curve will always be linear.

Bertrand Model

This oligopoly model has been developed by economist Joseph Louis Francois Bertrand. This is an extension on the Cournot Model. The assumptions and premises are all the same except that the model supposes that the firms compete with each other on the prices of their commodities. The economist believes that there are two equally positioned firms in the industry and their products are homogenous. The customers wouldn’t mind substituting one product for another. The rationale is that the marginal costs would remain constant and the sales and sales revenues are equally shared by the two firms.

Kinked Demand Model

This model states that there are few firms operating in the industry and if one firm raises the prices of its commodities, it would end up losing its customers. The other firms in the industry would continue to sell at the same price and would end up attracting the customers of this particular firm. Similarly, this model also states that if the firm lowers its prices, the competitors would also follow suit and the output of this firm would increase only marginally.

About the Author

Indrajit Dutta holds a Master of Business Administration in finance and strategy. She has been writing professionally for more than 10 years, specializing in management, finance and human resources.

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