Principles of Economics- Mankiw (5th) 370

Principles of Economics- Mankiw (5th) 370 - clining...

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380 PART FIVE FIRM BEHAVIOR AND THE ORGANIZATION OF INDUSTRY entry increases the number of products from which customers can choose and, therefore, reduces the demand faced by each firm already in the market. In other words, profit encourages entry, and entry shifts the demand curves faced by the incumbent firms to the left. As the demand for incumbent firms’ products falls, these firms experience declining profit. Conversely, when firms are making losses, as in panel (b), firms in the market have an incentive to exit. As firms exit, customers have fewer products from which to choose. This decrease in the number of firms expands the demand faced by those firms that stay in the market. In other words, losses encourage exit, and exit shifts the demand curves of the remaining firms to the right. As the demand for the remaining firms’ products rises, these firms experience rising profit (that is, de-
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Unformatted text preview: clining losses). This process of entry and exit continues until the firms in the market are mak-ing exactly zero economic profit. Figure 17-2 depicts the long-run equilibrium. Once the market reaches this equilibrium, new firms have no incentive to enter, and existing firms have no incentive to exit. Notice that the demand curve in this figure just barely touches the average-total-cost curve. Mathematically, we say the two curves are tangent to each other. These two curves must be tangent once entry and exit have driven profit to zero. Because profit per unit sold is the difference between price (found on the demand curve) and average total cost, the maximum profit is zero only if these two curves touch each other without crossing....
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