Natural Monopoly

In industries where the minimum efficient scale is very high, it may be that the lowest average cost is achieved if there is only one seller providing all the goods or services. Examples of such a service might be transmission and distribution of electric power or telephone service. This situation often occurs when total costs are very high but marginal costs are low. Economists call such markets natural monopolies.

Unfortunately, if just one firm is allowed to serve the entire market, the firm will be tempted to exploit the monopoly position rather than pass its lower cost in the form of lower prices. One response to this situation is to conclude that the service should be provided by a public agency rather than a private company. ...

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