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contestable marketa MARKET where new entrants face costs similar to those of established firms and where, on leaving, firms are able to recoup their capital costs, less depreciation. Consequently, it is not possible for established firms to earn ABOVE NORMAL PROFIT as this will be eroded by the entry of new firms, or, alternatively, the mere threat of such new entry may be sufficient to ensure that established firms set prices that yield them only a NORMAL PROFIT return. Perfectly competitive markets (see PERFECT COMPETITION) are all contestable, but even some oligopolistic markets (see OLIGOPOLY) may be contestable if entry and exit are easily affected.
In recent times many markets have been opened up by a number of developments, including increasing international competition as trade barriers have been reduced, the introduction of FLEXIBLE MANUFACTURING SYSTEMS and ECOMMERCE trading on the INTERNET. See WORKABLE COMPETITION, CONDITION OF ENTRY, BARRIERS TO ENTRY, BARRIERS TO EXIT.