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Duopoly and Oligopoly market forms are forms of imperfect competition. When there are two firms producing and selling a product in a market it is called duopoly. Duo means two and poly is seller. For example two aerated soft drink producers and sellers in India Pepsi and Coca Cola. On the other hand when there are few firms or sellers producing or selling a product oligopoly exists. When there are two or more than two, but not more than ten sellers of a product, oligopoly exists. Oligopoly is competition among the few. The simplest form of oligopoly is duopoly.

Characteristics of duopoly and oligopoly

i) Interdependence: Firms are interdependent on each other for decision-

making related to price, output, product design etc. An oligopolistic firm must consider not only the market demand for industry but also the reactions of other firms in industry to the actions or decisions taken by it.


Group behavior: Oligopoly firms are interdependent Theory of oligopoly


a theory of group behavior. In oligopoly there are few firms in a group which

are interdependent for profit maximization.

iii) Importance of Advertising and selling cost: A firm under oligopoly has

to incur advertising cost & costs on other promotion measures. This is also known as selling cost. It becomes necessary for the firm to incur this cost because, advertising plays an important role in product differentiation .If any firm fails to incur the required advertisement cost then customers will move

away to its rivals or competitors. iv) Indeterminateness of Firm’s demand curve: Due to the interdependence, a firm under oligopoly cannot assume that its rivals will not

react to any price change in its own price. Due to this uncertainty about price,

a firm loses the determinateness about its demand curve as it keeps on

shipping as rivals change their prices as a reaction to change in price by a firm.


Types of Duopoly and Oligopoly

The duopoly and oligopoly can be broadly divided in two types

1. Collusive and

2. Non collusive

Collusive oligopoly exists when the firms in this market join hands or come

together for deciding the price and output to be sold. Collusive oligopoly means

a secret market structure where firms producing similar goods may behave like

a monopolist.

Non collusive oligopoly, on the other hand compete with each other for deciding

price and output in the same market. The question arises due to

indeterminateness of the demand curve of individual firm in this type of


Following chart gives clear picture of various models of collusive and non

collusive oligopoly

Models of Oligopoly/Duopoly Collusive Models Non Collusive Models 1) Cartel 1) Bertrand's Price War 2)
Models of Oligopoly/Duopoly
Collusive Models
Non Collusive Models
1) Bertrand's Price War
Price Leadership Model
Low Cost
2) Cournot's Duopoly
3) Edgeworth's Model
4) Kinked Demand curve


These models are explained in details in subsequent modules.