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Excess capacity refers to a situation where a firm is producing at a lower scale of output than it has been designed for.

It exists when marginal cost is less than average cost and it is still possible to decrease average (unit) cost by producing more goods and services. Excess capacity may be measured as the increase in the current level of output that is required to reduce unit costs of production to a minimum. Excess capacity is a characteristic of natural monopoly or monopolistic competition. It may arise because as demand increases, firms have to invest and expand capacity in lumpy or indivisible portions. Firms may also choose to maintain excess capacity as a part of a deliberate strategy to deter or prevent entry of new firms.

Source Publication:
Glossary of Industrial Organisation Economics and Competition Law, compiled by R. S. Khemani and D. M. Shapiro, commissioned by the Directorate for Financial, Fiscal and Enterprise Affairs, OECD, 1993.


Statistical Theme: Financial statistics

Created on Thursday, January 3, 2002

Last updated on Friday, March 15, 2002