Perfect competition is a theoretical market structure in which a large number of buyers and sellers participate and no single participant has the ability to influence the price of a good or service. In a perfectly competitive market, all participants are price takers, meaning that they have no control over the price at which they can sell their goods or services and must accept the market price.
There are several characteristics that define a perfectly competitive market. These include:
- A large number of buyers and sellers: In a perfectly competitive market, there are so many buyers and sellers that no single participant can influence the market price.
- Homogeneous products: All participants in a perfectly competitive market sell the same product, so there is no differentiation between the goods or services being offered.
- No barriers to entry or exit: In a perfectly competitive market, there are no barriers to entry or exit, so new firms can easily enter the market and existing firms can easily exit.
- Perfect information: In a perfectly competitive market, all buyers and sellers have complete and accurate information about the market, including the prices and quantities of goods and services being offered.
In a perfectly competitive market, the market price is determined by the intersection of the supply and demand curves. As the price increases, the quantity supplied by sellers increases and the quantity demanded by buyers decreases, leading to a decrease in the market price. Conversely, as the price decreases, the quantity supplied by sellers decreases and the quantity demanded by buyers increases, leading to an increase in the market price.
While perfect competition is a theoretical concept and may not fully reflect real-world markets, it serves as a useful benchmark for understanding how markets function and how price is determined.