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To Commit or Not to Commit: Endogenous Timing in Experimental Duopoly Markets

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  • Huck, Steffen
  • Muller, Wieland
  • Normann, Hans-Theo

Abstract

In this paper, we experimentally investigate the extended game with action commitment of Hamilton and Slutsky (1990). In their duopoly game, firms can choose their quantities in one of two periods before the market clears. If a firm commits to a quantity in period 1 it does not know whether the other firm also commits early. By waiting until period 2, a firm can observe the other firm's period 1 action. Hamilton and Slutsky predict the emergence of endogenous Stackelberg leadership. Our data, however, does not confirm the theory. While Stackelberg equilibria are extremely rare we often observe endogenous Cournot outcomes and sometimes collusive play. This is partly driven by the fact that endogenous Stackelberg followers learn to behave in a reciprocal fashion over time, i.e., they learn to reward cooperation and to punish exploitation.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Games and Economic Behavior.

Volume (Year): 38 (2002)
Issue (Month): 2 (February)
Pages: 240-264

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Handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:38:y:2002:i:2:p:240-264

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622836

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  1. Reinhard Selten & Michael Mitzkewitz & Gerald R. Uhlich, 1997. "Duopoly Strategies Programmed by Experienced Players," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(3), pages 517-556, May.
  2. Huck, Steffen & Müller, Wieland & Normann, Hans-Theo, 1999. "Stackelberg beats Cournot: On collusion and efficiency in experimental markets," SFB 373 Discussion Papers 1999,32, Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes.
  3. Saloner, Garth, 1987. "Cournot duopoly with two production periods," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 183-187, June.
  4. Holt, Charles A, 1985. "An Experimental Test of the Consistent-Conjectures Hypothesis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 314-25, June.
  5. Simon, Leo K & Stinchcombe, Maxwell B, 1995. "Equilibrium Refinement for Infinite Normal-Form Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(6), pages 1421-43, November.
  6. Damme, E.E.C. van & Hurkens, J.P.M., 1996. "Endogenous Stackelberg Leadership," Discussion Paper 1996-115, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  7. Hans-Theo Normann, 1997. "Endogenous Stackelberg equilibria with incomplete information," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 66(2), pages 177-187, June.
  8. Matsumura, Toshihiro, 1999. "Quantity-setting oligopoly with endogenous sequencing," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 289-296, February.
  9. Ellingsen, Tore, 1994. "On Flexibility in Oligopoly," Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 21, Stockholm School of Economics.
  10. Kyle Bagwell, 1992. "Commitment and Observability in Games," Discussion Papers 1014, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  11. Huck, Steffen & Muller, Wieland, 2000. "Perfect versus Imperfect Observability--An Experimental Test of Bagwell's Result," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 174-190, May.
  12. Hamilton, J.H. & Slutsky, S.M., 1988. "Endogenous Timing In Duopoly Games: Stackelberg Or Cournot Equilibria," Papers 88-4, Florida - College of Business Administration.
  13. Robson, Arthur J, 1990. "Stackelberg and Marshall," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 69-82, March.
  14. John C. Harsanyi & Reinhard Selten, 1988. "A General Theory of Equilibrium Selection in Games," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262582384, December.
  15. Mailath George J., 1993. "Endogenous Sequencing of Firm Decisions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 169-182, February.
  16. Guth, Werner & Schmittberger, Rolf & Schwarze, Bernd, 1982. "An experimental analysis of ultimatum bargaining," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 367-388, December.
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