Critical Thinking Questions


ALCOA does not have the monopoly power it once had. How do you suppose its barriers to entry were weakened?


Why are generic pharmaceuticals significantly cheaper than name brand ones?


For many years, the DOJ has tried to break up large firms like IBM, Microsoft, and most recently Google, on the grounds that their large market share made them essentially monopolies. In a global market, where U.S. firms compete with firms from other countries, would this policy make the same sense as it might in a purely domestic context?


Intellectual property laws are intended to promote innovation, but some economists, such as Milton Friedman, have argued that such laws are not desirable. In the United States, there is no intellectual property protection for food recipes or fashion designs. Considering the state of these two industries, and bearing in mind the discussion of the inefficiency of monopolies, can you think of any reasons why intellectual property laws might hinder innovation in some cases?


Imagine that you are managing a small firm and thinking about entering the market of a monopolist. The monopolist is currently charging a high price, and you have calculated that you can make a nice profit charging 10 percent less than the monopolist. Before you go ahead and challenge the monopolist, what possibility should you consider for how the monopolist might react?


If a monopoly firm is earning profits, how much would you expect these profits to be diminished by entry in the long run?