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market structure in which the market or industry is made up of and dominated by several usually large companies or competitors.

They tend to sell a standardized product that may be differentiated by unique characteristics. Entry into this market is difficult because between the established firms there is a high level of competition and there are also usually several entry barriers (namely, initial costseconomies of scale, ownership rights and governmental barriers).

In an oligopoly, companies typically have little control of product pricing because mutual interdependce is normally present in this type of market. This can lead to forms of non-price competition. However, if collusion exisits between the companies, prices (among other things) can become fixed, competition is decreased and even cartels can be formed.