This week we shall look at Monopolistic Competition. This is where you, as a consumer, spend most of your time. In Monopolistic Competition, there are many companies selling similar but not identical products. Put differently, the goods are close, but not perfect substitutes.
Because of the relative ease of substitution, companies often compete by advertising, services (for stores), brand names, brand loyalty and product differentiation more than by price. Thus, prices of competing products tend to be close, but not identical as they are in Perfect Competition.
Since this market is where you – as a consumer – spend most of your time and a lot of your money, this week you are going to look at this market in action in your daily life. When you go shopping this week, pay close attention to product prices and what information they tell you about how the products compete.
A grocery store is a good example. Look at the soda aisle and by viewing the prices and the product locations on the shelves, which products are close substitutes, sufficiently differentiated that they have brand loyalty (i.e., a higher price), etc. Do the same with canned vegetables. Or undertake the same observational experiment in another type of store you regularly frequent.
MAKE SURE THAT YOU ADD SOMETHING NEW to the discussion.
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