Since price deviates from marginal cost, average-cost pricing in such cases is sometimes referred to as second-best pricing; "first-best" pricing would equate price to marginal cost, but would result in revenues less than costs.
Clearly, average-cost pricing in Figure 2 leaves no opportunity for a competitor to attract some piece of the market and at least cover its costs.
There have been a number of studies of the Federal Reserve's check-collection services, aimed at addressing this question.(15) These studies tend to find fairly weak scale economies in the observed range of production levels.(16) Such findings might seem at odds with the narrative description of the experience in check processing (and in ACH services), which seems to parallel the analysis of Section 2; average-cost pricing to the market as a whole led to the defection of high-volume users of the services.