Monopoly and Monopsony Power in a Market for Mud

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This article describes an unusual market I use in my intermediate microeconomics courses to illustrate characteristics of monopoly and monopsony power. For over sixty years the Lena Blackburne Rubbing Mud (LBRM) company has been the sole supplier of mud taken from a Delaware River tributary that is applied to all baseballs used by Major League Baseball (MLB) teams. The unique quality of the mud removes the shine and slickness of new baseballs. Students must explain why LBRM is or is not a monopoly and recognize the source of MLB’s monopsony power.

Edward Scahill