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Written by Jacky Chou

What Generally Causes U.S. Companies in Oligopoly to Have Similar Prices

If you’ve ever wondered why the prices of products from different companies in oligopoly tend to be similar, you’re not alone. In this blog post, we’ll explore the various factors that contribute to this phenomenon.

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Most industries in the United States economy are oligopolies. That is, they are composed of a small number of relatively large firms. Oligopoly is common in industries that require large investments in land, labor, or capital, such as the auto industry, the steel industry, and the computer industry.

There are several reasons why oligopolistic firms often have prices that are very close to each other. One reason is that each firm is aware that if it raises its price above those of its competitors, it will lose customers to them. Another reason is that firms in an oligopoly are usually much larger than firms in other types of market structure, and so they have more to lose by engaging in price wars with each other. Finally, oligopolistic firms often produce similar products, which makes it difficult for them to differentiate their products from those of their competitors and thus charge different prices.

U.S. Companies

There are many reasons why companies in oligopoly might have similar prices. One reason is that they may have agreed to fix prices, either formally or informally. Another reason might be that they are all trying to compete for the same group of customers, and so they might see similar prices as the best way to attract business. Finally, it could simply be that there is not a lot of room for price differentiation in the market, so companies end up settling on similar prices out of necessity.


There are a number of reasons why companies in oligopoly might have similar prices. One reason is that the Companies might be using a mutual pricing strategy, where they collude with one another to set prices. Another reason is that the companies might have tough competition with one another, leading them to avoid price wars by keeping their prices similar. Additionally, the companies might produce similar products that are not easy to differentiate, leading consumers to believe that they are interchangeable and therefore price should not be a deciding factor.

Market Structure

In the U.S., there are four main types of market structures: perfect competition, monopolistic competition, oligopoly, and monopoly. Each structure has different characteristics, and all but perfect competition lead to higher prices for the customer. Of these market structures, oligopoly is the most prevalent in the U.S.

An oligopoly is a market structure in which there are only a few companies producing a product. In order to maintain profitability, these companies must keep prices similar to one another; if one company lowers its price, the others will likely follow suit in order to remain competitive. This lack of competition leads to higher prices for consumers.

There are a few key reasons why U.S. companies in oligopoly tend to have similar prices:
-These companies have agreed upon or colluded on prices in order to avoid cutthroat competition
-They are all trying to maximize profits and keep prices at a level where they can still make a significant profit
-There is little incentive for these companies to lower prices since their competitors would quickly follow suit
-There is also little incentive for these companies to innovate or offer new products since their competitors would likely copy them

Game Theory

While there are many different reasons why companies in oligopoly might have similar prices, one common explanation is game theory. Game theory is the study of how people interact with each other, and it can be applied to business situations.

One key concept in game theory is the Prisoner’s Dilemma. This is a situation where two people have to make a decision, and each person’s decision could lead to different outcomes. In the case of oligopoly, the dilemma is that each company has to decide whether to charge a high price or a low price. If all the companies charge a high price, they will make more profit. But if one company charges a low price, it will get all the customers and make more profit than the other companies.

So, in order for all the companies to do well, they need to find a way to cooperate with each other. One way they can do this is by agreeing on a set of prices that everyone will charge. This way, they can all make a good profit without any one company getting an unfair advantage.

Business Strategy

There are a number of factors that can lead to companies in oligopoly agreeing on prices, even though they are technically competing against each other. In some cases, it may be simply be efficient for them to come to an agreement, since it saves on the cost of advertising and promotion. Additionally, companies in oligopoly may have similar products or services, which makes it difficult to differentiate themselves from their competitors. As a result, they may find that it makes more sense to cooperate with each other rather than engage in cutthroat competition.

Market Power

In an oligopoly, firms are aware of their mutual interdependence and know that their decisions about price and output will affect not only their own fortunes but also those of their rivals. The decisions that each firm makes take into account the reactions of its rivals. Consequently, firms in an oligopoly are usually very careful when they make price changes.

When a firm in an oligopoly raises its prices, it risks losing customers to its rivals. If one firm raises its prices while all its rivals keep theirs unchanged, then the higher-priced firm is likely to lose market share and profitability. On the other hand, if all firms in an oligopoly raise their prices at the same time, then they can all maintain or even increase their profits.

It is often advantageous for firms in an oligopoly to cooperate with each other rather than engage in price competition. By cooperating, firms can avoid the costs associated with price wars and can instead focus on expanding their businesses and making long-term profits.


There are several reasonswhy U.S. companies in oligopoly tend to have similar prices. One reason is that these companies may be reluctant to undercut each other’s prices and risk starting a price war. Another reason is that these companies may be using a similar pricing strategy, such as following the lead of the largest company in the market. Finally, these companies may be colluding with each other to keep prices high.


Under the antitrust laws, companies are prohibited from agreeing to fix prices or rig bids. The antitrust laws also outlaw certain practices that may not necessarily involve an agreement among competitors, but that nonetheless may harm competition. For example, a company with a monopoly (or a dominant market share) may abuse its power by engaging in predatory pricing (pricing below cost to drive competitors out of the market) or by engaging in exclusive dealing arrangements (forcing customers to buy only from the company or deal only with the company’s authorized dealers).


In an oligopoly, there are a small number of firms that dominate the market. These firms are often able to set prices and control the market. In the United States, oligopolies are common in industries such as oil, gas, pharmaceuticals, and telecommunications.

There are a number of reasons why companies in oligopoly tend to have similar prices. First, companies in oligopoly often produce similar products. This means that they are competing for the same customers and have to offer similar prices in order to stay competitive. Second, companies in oligopoly often have agreements with each other not to undercut each other’s prices. This helps them to avoid a price war, which would eat into their profits. Finally, companies in oligopoly may charge similar prices because they know that customers will not switch to another company if the price is only slightly lower. In other words, customers are not very price sensitive when it comes to oligopolistic industries.

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