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Monopsony: Definition, Causes, Objections, And Example Monopsony: Definition, Causes, Objections, And Example


Monopsony: Definition, Causes, Objections, And Example

Learn about the concept of monopsony in finance, including its definition, causes, objections, and an illustrative example.

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Monopsony: Definition, Causes, Objections, and Example

Finance is a vast and complex field that encompasses various aspects of managing and investing money. In this blog post, we will delve into the concept of monopsony, its definition, causes, objections, and present a real-world example. So, let’s dive in and explore the fascinating world of monopsony!

Key Takeaways:

  • Monopsony refers to a market structure in which there is only one buyer or a dominant buyer of a particular good or service.
  • Causes of monopsony include barriers to entry, buyer collusion, and government regulations.

What is Monopsony?

In simple terms, monopsony is a market situation where there is only one buyer or a dominant buyer for a specific product or service. Just like a monopoly exists when there is a single seller, a monopsony occurs when there is a single buyer. This can give the buyer significant market power and influence over prices and the terms of trade.

Despite being relatively less discussed compared to monopoly, monopsony can have a significant impact on the market dynamics, especially in communities and industries where there are limited or no alternatives for suppliers.

Causes of Monopsony

Several factors can contribute to the creation of a monopsony market:

  1. Barriers to Entry: High barriers to entry, such as substantial capital requirements or legal restrictions, can prevent potential buyers from entering the market. This lack of competition allows the existing buyer to consolidate power and become a monopsony.
  2. Buyer Collusion: When multiple buyers collude and engage in anticompetitive practices, they can collectively dominate the market and behave as a monopsony. These buyers might coordinate their purchasing activities, control prices, or impose restrictive conditions on suppliers.
  3. Government Regulations: In some cases, government regulations and policies can inadvertently create monopsony situations. For example, when governments award exclusive contracts to a single buyer, it can lead to a monopsonistic market structure.

Objections to Monopsony

Monopsony market structures often face objections due to their potential negative impact on various stakeholders:

  • Suppliers: Suppliers may suffer reduced bargaining power, lower profits, and limited market access due to the dominance of the monopsonistic buyer.
  • Consumers: Though a monopsony buyer may have the power to negotiate lower prices, this does not always translate into lower prices for consumers. In some cases, the buyer may keep the majority of the savings, resulting in limited benefits for consumers.
  • Competition: Monopsonies can hinder fair competition, limiting innovation and stifling potential new entrants. This lack of competition can harm the overall market and hinder economic growth.

Example of Monopsony: Amazon’s Dominance in Publishing

A well-known example of monopsony can be found in the publishing industry, with Amazon’s position as a dominant buyer or “gatekeeper” in the e-book market. Amazon’s market share and control over distribution channels allow them to set lower prices and dictate terms to publishers and authors.

The objections in this case include concerns about Amazon’s influence on pricing, limited negotiation power for authors, and potential barriers to entry for smaller publishers. These issues have sparked debates surrounding competition, consumer welfare, and the need for regulatory intervention to mitigate the effects of their monopsony power.


The concept of monopsony sheds light on an important aspect of market dynamics, where a single buyer or a dominant buyer holds significant power over suppliers and market conditions. Understanding the causes, objections, and real-world examples of monopsony can help us recognize its effects and advocate for fair competition. By promoting a competitive and diverse market environment, we can strive for better outcomes for all stakeholders involved.