Characteristics Of Perfect And Imperfect Markets

Market is a place where the buyers and sellers make transactions regarding goods and services. Depending on time, competition and extent of area, markets are classified into several types. On the basis of competition markets are classified into perfect markets and imperfect markets.

Perfectly competitive Markets:

Perfectly competitive market is one which consists of large number of buyers and sellers, uniform price and homogeneous commodities. No single buyer or seller is able to exercise control over the price of a commodity. The price of a commodity is same throughout the market. The following are the characteristics of perfect markets or perfectly competitive markets.

Characteristics of perfect markets:

1) There exists a large number of buyers and sellers. Each buyer buys a main portion of the whole stock of commodities. Similarity each seller sells a negligible portion of the whole stock of commodities. They have no influence over the determination of the price.

2) There prevails homogeneous commodities. The quantity and quality of commodities available in the market are the same. No differences are observed in the size, quality, taste of the Commodities.

3) Both the buyers and sellers will know the prices prevalent in the market. Neither of them can increase or decrease the price of a commodity. So the price line of a perfectly competitive market runs parallel to OX axis.

4) There exists no obstacles for the firms to enter or leave the industry. New firms enter the industry when there are huge profits. Old firms leave the industry when there are huge losses.

5) There exists no transport costs. As a result the price of the commodity is same at any place in the market.

6) Factors of production are freely mobile. They move from one industry to the other until they get higher remunerative prices for their services.

Distinction between pure competition and perfect competition:

‘Pure’ competition is a word introduced by Prof. Chamberlain. Pure competition is said to prevail when there exists large number of buyers and sellers, homogeneous commodities and freedom of admission into and exit of firms from an industry. In addition to these features perfect competition includes perfect knowledge of prices, free mobility of factors of production, absence of transport costs and uniform price as its features.

Both pure and perfect competitions are the two ideal concepts which can’t be found in real world. What we observe in reality is the prevalence of imperfect competition.

Imperfect Competition:

Imperfect competition consists of the features which are opposite to perfect competition. It has some special features.

Characteristics of imperfect markets:

1) There exists a small number of sellers in ‘this market. This enables the sellers to charge the prices as they like.

2) The number of buyers is also small. But its does not mean that buyers are few. The buyers in this market system are divided into several groups. Each group buys goods and services from different sellers.

3) The commodities bought and sold in this market are heterogeneous. They differ in their size, quality, appearance, tastes and durability.

4) The sellers adopt product differentiation and price discrimination. They collect different prices for the same commodity from different buyers.

5) There exists transport costs and selling costs in this market.

6) The consumers may not know the prevailing prices of the commodities in the market.

7) The factors of production are not freely mobile.

8) There prevails different prices for the same commodity in the same region.

Thus, imperfect competition consists of the features which are quite opposite to the perfect competition.

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