Monopolies over a particular commodity, market or aspect of production are considered good or economically advisable in cases where free market competition would be economically inefficient, the price to consumers should be regulated, or high risk and high entry costs inhibit initial investment in a necessary sector. For example, a government may sanction or take partial ownership of a single supplier for a commodity in order to keep costs to consumers to a necessary minimum. Taking such actions is in the public interest if the good in question is relatively inelastic or necessary, that is, without substitutes. This is known as a legal monopoly or, a natural monopoly, where a single corporation can most efficiently carry the supply.
Government-sanctioned monopolies need not always be for reasons of economic efficiency or consumer price protection, however. Nine of the 52 states of the union operate legal monopolies of hard-liquor sales.