In economics, a government monopoly or public monopoly is a form of coercive monopoly in which a government agency or government corporation is the sole provider of a particular good or service and competition is prohibited by law. It is a monopoly created, owned, and operated by the government. It is usually distinguished from a government-granted monopoly, where the government grants a monopoly to a private individual or company.
A government monopoly may be run by any level of government — national, regional, local; for levels below the national, it is a local monopoly. The term state monopoly usually means a government monopoly run by the national government.
In Europe, state monopolies dictate air fares, international telephone charges and postal tariffs. Because of a lack of competition these, usually state-owned, companies can get away with unreliable service and poor value for money. Following the spate of bank mergers during the economic adjustments of the late 1980s and early 90s, complaints have arisen about loss of competition between banks and apparent collusion on maintaining high interest rates. State-owned monopolies dominate electricity and gas industries in almost every EEC/EU country, to the degree that, in 1991, ten governments were put on notice by the EC competition commissioner to liberalize their "cartel-like" arrangements.