The Supermarket Chain In The Uk Economics Essay


The essay clearly elaborates on the market construction of the supermarket concatenation in United Kingdom. The research says that the UK supermarket construction is based on the “ Oligopoly ” . The word oligopoly is derived from the Grecian word oligos, which means few “ An oligopoly is a market holding few houses ( but more than one house ) on the supply side and a really big figure of purchasers on the demand side each of whom makes a negligible part to the market demand map ( James Friedman 1983 ) ” .

Where an oligopoly exists, a few big providers dominate the market ensuing in a high grade of market concentration ; a big per centum of the market is taken by the few prima houses. An oligopoly usual depends on high barriers to entry. It frequently leads to a deficiency of monetary value competition ( although there may be ferocious competition in footings of marketing etc ) which is the job from the point of position of consumers. This is because an oligopoly consists of a few houses, they are normally really much aware of each others ‘ actions ( e.g. alterations to monetary values ) . This can take to informal collusion as houses match monetary values to avoid arousing a monetary value war. This has a similar consequence to consider collusion, but is harder for regulators to command. This besides means that when monetary value cuts do occur, the market tends to hold to follow the lead of any one house. This leads to each house sing a curious demand curve, the alleged kinked demand curve. An oligopolist faces a downward sloping demand curve but its monetary value snap may depend on the reaction of challengers to alterations in monetary value and end product. Assuming that houses are trying to keep a high degree of net incomes and their market portions. Rivals will non follow a monetary value addition by one house, so a house that raises monetary values will lose market portion and hence net incomes. Rivals have to fit a monetary value cut by one house to avoid a loss of market portion. That means that if one house cuts monetary values, all will hold lower net incomes. This means that the demand curve for the oligopolist is non consecutive. It is flatter above the current monetary value, with a sudden alteration of incline at the current monetary value. This means that an oligopolist normally has small incentive to alter its monetary values. It may cut monetary values where there are chances of market portion additions ( i.e. when its challengers will non follow ) . It may increase monetary values if it feels certain that rivals will follow ( or when the border addition is sufficient to do up for the big loss in market portion ) . Monetary values in an oligopoly hence tend to be higher and alteration less than under perfect competition. In an oligopoly there are really few Sellerss of the good, and the Oligopolies are monetary value compositors instead than monetary value takers.

Features of Oligopoly

Any houses with oligopoly will take at maximising the net incomes by bring forthing in which the fringy gross peers fringy costs.

Oligopolies are monetary value compositors instead than monetary value takers

The most of import barriers are economic systems of graduated table, patents, entree to expensive and complex engineering, and strategic actions by incumbent houses designed to deter or destruct nascent houses.

There are so few houses that the actions of one house can act upon the actions of the other houses

Oligopolies can retain long tally unnatural net incomes. High barriers of entry prevent sideline houses from come ining market to capture extra net incomes.

Premises about perfect cognition vary but the cognition of assorted economic histrions can be by and large described as selective. Oligopolies have perfect cognition of their ain cost and demand maps but their inter-firm information may be uncomplete. Buyers have merely imperfect cognition as to monetary value, cost and merchandise quality.

The typical characteristic of an oligopoly is mutuality. Oligopolies are typically composed of a few big houses. Each house is so big that its actions affect market conditions. Therefore the viing houses will be cognizant of a house ‘s market actions and will react suitably. This means that in contemplating a market action, a house must take into consideration the possible reactions of all competing houses and the house ‘s counterattacks. It is really much like a game of cheat or pool in which a participant must expect a whole sequence of moves and counterattacks in finding how to accomplish his aims. For illustration, an oligopoly sing a monetary value decrease may wish to gauge the likeliness that viing houses would besides take down their monetary values and perchance trip a catastrophic monetary value war. Or if the house is sing a monetary value addition, it may desire to cognize whether other houses will besides increase monetary values or keep bing monetary values changeless. This high grade of mutuality and demand to be cognizant of what the other house is making or might make is to be contrasted with deficiency of mutuality in other market constructions.

There are few economic expert have done an extended research on the oligopoly market construction and they have resulted in three types of oligopoly theoretical accounts. They are as follows:

Conjectural Variation Models of Oligopoly

Undifferentiated Merchandise Market

Suppose there are n houses in the market and the reverse demand map for the market is:

( 1 ) P = p0 – b*Q,

where Q is the entire production of all the houses in the market. Let the cost map for the i-th house be

( 2 ) Ci = Ci0 + Ci1*qi,

where chi is the end product of the i-th house. The net income of the i-th house, Ui, is so

( 3 ) Ui = p*qi – Curie = ( p0 – b*Q ) *qi – Ci0 – Ci1*qi.

The first order status for maximising Ui with regard to qi is:

( 4 ) a?‚Ui/a?‚qi = ( p0 – b*Q ) -b* ( a?‚Q/a?‚qi ) *qi – Ci1 = 0.

The Cournot Model

In the Cournot Model each house presumes no reaction on the portion of the other houses to a alteration in its end product. Therefore, a?‚Q/a?‚qi = 1. Therefore the first order status for a maximal net income of the i-th house is:

( 5 ) p0 – b* ( Qoi + 2qi ) = Ci1,

where Qoi is the end product of the houses other than the i-th. When this is solved for chi the consequence is:

( 6 ) chi = ( p0 – Ci1 ) /2b – Qoi/2.

However it is more convenient to stand for the first order status and its solution as:

( 7 ) p0 – b* ( Q + chi ) = Ci1 and qi = ( p0 – Ci1 ) /b – Q.

Now we can sum the above equation over the n houses. The consequence is:

( 8 ) Q = N ( p0/b ) – C1/b – n*Q,

where C1 is the amount of the Ci1. The solution for Q is:

( 9 ) Q = [ n/ ( n+1 ) ] ( p0/b ) – [ 1/ ( n+1 ) ] C1/b.

When this end product is substituted into the reverse demand map the consequence is:

( 10 ) P = [ 1/ ( n+1 ) ] p0 + [ 1/ ( n+1 ) ] C1, or if we let c1=C1/n:

( 11 ) P = [ 1/ ( n+1 ) ] p0 + [ n/ ( n+1 ) ] c1,

where c1 represents the norm of the fringy costs of the n houses. We see from ( 11 ) that as the figure of houses increase without bound the market monetary value attacks c1.

If one follows through with this theoretical account one would hold to take in consideration that the houses with above mean fringy cost could be doing a loss on variable costs and would discontinue production.

The von Stackelberg Leader-Follower Model

Heinrich von Stackelberg proposed a theoretical account of oligopoly in which one house, a follower, takes the end product of the other house as given ( a Cournot type oligopolist ) and adjusts its end product consequently. The other house, a leader, takes into history the accommodation which the follower house will do. The end product determination of a Cournot oligopolist is given by equation ( 6 ) above. Therefore if a leader house increases its end product qL by 1 unit the follower house will diminish its end product by one half of a unit. The term a?‚Q/a?‚qL = 1/2 for the leader house so the first order status for the leader house is:

( 12 ) a?‚UL/a?‚qL = ( p0 – b*Q ) -b* ( 1/2 ) *qL – CL1 = 0.


( 13 ) qL = ( p0 – CL1 ) ( 2/3b ) – 2QoL/3.

Transporting through with the analysis as shown below indicates that the market monetary value will be:

( 14 ) P = [ 1/ ( n+2 ) ] p0 + [ ( n+1 ) / ( n+2 ) ] c1,

where c1 is now the leaden norm of the fringy costs of the house with all of the follower houses given an equal weight and the leader house given a weight of twice that of the follower houses. The leader house has the consequence on the industry of two follower houses. Otherwise the consequence is the same as in the instance of the Cournot oligopoly.

The General Case

From the first order conditions in ( 4 ) we have that:

( 15 ) ( a?‚Q/a?‚qi ) *qi = ( p0 – Ci1 ) /b – Q, or qi = Wi ( p0/b ) – Wi ( Ci1/b ) – W & gt ; i*Q, where Wi = 1/ ( a?‚Q/a?‚qi ) . Summarizing over one gives:

( 16 ) Q = N ( p0/b ) – Nc1/b – NQ, where N is the amount of the weights Wi and c1 is the leaden norm of the fringy costs Ci1. Thus,

( 17 ) Q = [ n/ ( n+1 ) ] * ( p0-c1 ) /b.

This consequence when substituted into the reverse demand map gives:

( 18 ) P = [ 1/ ( n+1 ) ] p0 + [ n/ ( n+1 ) ] c1.

This is the same as the Cournot solution with the figure of houses replaced by the effectual figure of rivals, the amount of the reciprocals of ( a?‚Q/a?‚qi ) . From ( 18 ) we besides have that the alteration in oligopoly monetary value is a leaden norm of the displacements in the fringy costs and displacements in the demand map as given by the parametric quantity p0.

Differentiated Merchandises

For this instance it is convenient and besides necessary to utilize a matrix preparation of the job. It is assumed that each house produces a different merchandise. Let P and Q be the column vectors of monetary values and end products. The reverse demand map is taken to be additive and of the signifier:

( 19 ) P = P0 – BQ.

The cost map for each house is of the signifier Ci = C0i + C1i*qi. The first order status for a maximal net income with regard to qi is:

( 20 ) pi0 – I?j [ bij*qj ] + qi* [ -I?j [ bij* ( a?‚qj/a?‚qi ) ] – Ci1 = 0, where I?j [ ] denotes the summing up with regard to the index J. The set of these first order conditions for i=1, … , n can be represented in matrix signifier as:

( 21 ) P – BQ – DQ – C1 = 0, where D is a diagonal matrix whose diagonal elements are:

( 22 ) dii = I?j [ bij* ( a?‚qj /a?‚qi ) .

It is the diagonal matrix created from the diagonal elements of the matrix BJ, where J = [ ( a?‚qj/a?‚qi ) ] .

The solution for Q is

( 23 ) Q = G ( P0 – C1 ) , where G is the opposite of ( B+D ) . The vector of market monetary values is:

( 24 ) P = ( I-BG ) P0 + BGC1.

Therefore the oligopoly monetary values given as P are leaden norms of the P0 parametric quantities and the fringy costs C1.


ASDA, Sainsbury, Tesco are the illustrations of Oligopoly supermarkets in UK. They are the smaller group of houses which dominates the market in UK. They are the chief monetary value compositors for the merchandises. These supermarkets ever involve in the research on cognizing about the rivals schemes. These signifiers of supermarkets require strategic thought, unlike the houses with monopoly construction. Under perfect competition, monopoly, and monopolistic competition, a marketer faces a good defined demand curve for its end product, and should take the measure where MR=MC. The marketer does non worry about how other Sellerss will respond, because either the marketer is negligibly little, or already a monopoly. Whereas, in oligopoly, a marketer is large plenty to impact the market. You must react to your challengers ‘ picks, but your challengers are reacting to your picks.

Suppose Sainsbury and ASDA take how much of milk to convey to the market each hebdomad. Now a scheme specifies how many gallons to convey during each hebdomad, as a map of what picks were made in the yesteryear. These more complicated scheme sets ( sets of maps ) allow for wagess and penalties. Here is a “ Trigger scheme ” for Sainsbury: Choose 30 gallons in hebdomad 1, and go on to take 30 gallons if ASDA has ever chosen 30 gallons. If ASDA of all time chooses a different measure, choose 40 gallons everlastingly after. In the boundlessly perennial game, it is Nash equilibrium for Sainsbury and ASDA to take this trigger scheme. Sainsbury is having net incomes of ?1200 per hebdomad. If he decides to bring forth 40 gallons one hebdomad, so during that hebdomad his net incomes are ?1400, but every hebdomad afterwards his net incomes are merely ?1100. Without any collusion, Sainsbury and ASDA can accomplish the trust result. From an economic sciences point of view, the trust result supported by penalty schemes is the same as collusion. This is a job for antimonopoly governments.


In pattern, oligopolists have a difficult clip keeping trust net incomes. Often the strategic picks are non observed by challengers. OPEC states can in secret pump more oil than what was agreed upon, and demand fluctuations make the rip offing difficult to descry. In games with imperfect information, the best Nash equilibrium sometimes involves rhythms of trust subject followed by a dislocation. Hence the essay concludes with the clear account on the oligopoly construction being used in the supermarkets in UK along with the illustrations.