Definition of oligopsony in US English:



  • A state of the market in which only a small number of buyers exists for a product.

    • ‘There may have been instances of monopsony or oligopsony in the 19th century, but they were short-lived.’
    • ‘They concluded that increased beef packer margins in the last few years had stemmed from oligopsony power among packers.’
    • ‘With Equation, regional oligopsony / oligopoly indices are constructed.’
    • ‘Economists refer to this as an oligopsony: a market with few buyers.’
    • ‘The regional firm-level indices are derived for oligopsony / oligopoly in recycled newsprint mills for the years 1972-1995.’
    • ‘This study postulates that oligopsony power will have a negative effect on ONP input prices in the absence of other powerful buyers or rivals, and the intensity of the negative effect is reduced with the presence of other powerful rivals.’
    • ‘Competition among hiring firms had given way to what would today be called oligopsony or monopsony.’
    • ‘An oligopsony is a market in which there are many sellers, but few buyers.’
    • ‘This paper identifies oligopsony characteristics associated with the old newspaper (ONP) input market for recycled-content newsprint manufacture and then examines the impacts of market performances on ONP input prices.’
    • ‘Using modern terms, in labor markets oligopsony or monopsony emerges, and market imperfections and a zero reservation price for labor exist.’
    • ‘The objectives of this study were to investigate the possible existence of oligopsony elements in the ONP input market among recycled newsprint producers in the United States.’
    • ‘The present investigation is significant for three reasons: landfill crisis, limited effectiveness of government policies in the presence of market power, and theoretical and empirical contributions to the theory of oligopsony.’


1940s: from oligo- ‘small number’ + Greek opsōnein ‘buy provisions’, on the pattern of monopsony.