Perfect markets achieve efficiency: maximizing total surplus generated. But real markets are imperfect. In this course we will explore a set of market imperfections to understand why they fail and to explore possible remedies including as antitrust policy, regulation, government intervention. Examples are taken from everyday life, from goods and services that we all purchase and use. We will apply the theory to current events and policy debates through weekly exercises. These will empower you to be an educated, critical thinker who can understand, analyze and evaluate market outcomes.

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Costs and Profits + Perfect Competition

In the first part of the course we learnt that if we allow market forces to work we reach an efficient outcome: the maximum benefit that can be generated by a market. The second part of the course explores cases where the markets fail to accomplish our goals. This week sets up the benchmark case of the perfectly competitive market: a model we will modify in the next few weeks. We define Perfect Competition, learn to model it graphically and discuss some key results in terms of long run profits and implications for efficiency.