Springfield residents are clamoring to re-enact prohibition in town, but the City Council feels like the positive externalities outweigh the costs associated with alcohol. The County Clerk finds an old law for Springfield ordinance that actually outlaws alcohol. The new Duff Zero (alcohol-free beer) isn’t as popular as the original and the Duff factory has to shut down.
Struggling children’s bookstore owner Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan) tries to remain positive as a big retail chain bookstore, Fox Books, opens around the corner. She outlines the differences between their products and services and notes how this could be a good thing for her business. When business try to differentiate their products, they are often operating in a monopolistically competitive environment. The one issue with the entrance of a new competitor in these markets is that it decreases demand for the other firms even if they are a little different. The accountant notes that their revenues are down compared to the same week last year.
I use this clip to introduce the concept of monopolistic competition in a market place and how demand shifts when close substitutes enter a market.
Price wars aren’t good for business profits, which is why many firms may want to collude. If two goods are close substitutes, prices should be driven down near the marginal cost of production.