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Definition of 'Oligopoly'

An oligopoly is a market structure in which a small number of sellers dominate a particular market. Oligopolies are often formed when it is difficult for new firms to enter the market, either because of high start-up costs or because of government regulations.

Oligopolies can be harmful to consumers because they can lead to higher prices and less innovation. When a few firms control a market, they can collude to fix prices and limit output. This can reduce competition and lead to higher prices for consumers. Oligopolies can also stifle innovation because firms have less incentive to develop new products or services when they do not have to compete with many other firms.

There are a number of ways to break up an oligopoly. One way is to increase competition by lowering barriers to entry. This can be done by reducing start-up costs or by easing government regulations. Another way to break up an oligopoly is to regulate the prices that firms can charge. This can be done by setting price ceilings or by requiring firms to compete in auctions.

Oligopolies can be difficult to break up because the firms in an oligopoly have a strong incentive to maintain their high prices and profits. However, by increasing competition and regulating prices, governments can help to protect consumers and promote innovation.

Here are some additional examples of oligopolies:

* The airline industry
* The automobile industry
* The telecommunications industry
* The pharmaceutical industry

In each of these industries, a small number of firms control a large share of the market. This can lead to higher prices and less innovation.

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