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Self-reinforcing market dominance

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  • Halbheer, Daniel
  • Fehr, Ernst
  • Goette, Lorenz
  • Schmutzler, Armin

Abstract

Are initial competitive advantages self-reinforcing, so that markets exhibit an endogenous tendency to be dominated by only a few firms? Although this question is of great economic importance, no systematic empirical study has yet addressed it. Therefore, we examine experimentally whether firms with an initial cost advantage are more likely to invest in marginal cost reductions than firms with higher initial costs. We find that the initial competitive advantages are indeed self-reinforcing, but subjects in the role of firms overinvest relative to the Nash equilibrium. However, the pattern of overinvestment even strengthens the tendency towards self-reinforcing cost advantages relative to the theoretical prediction. Further, as predicted by the Nash equilibrium, mean-preserving spreads of the initial cost distribution have no effects on aggregate investments. Finally, investment spillovers reduce investment, and investment is higher than the joint-profit maximizing benchmark for the case without spillovers and lower for the case with spillovers.

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Bibliographic Info

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

Volume (Year): 67 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2 (November)
Pages: 481-502

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Handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:67:y:2009:i:2:p:481-502

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

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Keywords: Cost-reducing investment Asymmetric oligopoly Increasing dominance Experimental study;

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Josef Falkinger, 2008. "Between Agora and Shopping Mall," SOI - Working Papers 0805, Socioeconomic Institute - University of Zurich.
  2. Johannes Schoder & Peter Zweifel, 2008. "Managed Care Konzepte und Lösungsansätze– Ein internationaler Vergleich aus schweizerischer Sicht," SOI - Working Papers 0801, Socioeconomic Institute - University of Zurich.
  3. Sacco, Dario & Schmutzler, Armin, 2011. "Is there a U-shaped relation between competition and investment?," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 65-73, January.
  4. Schmutzler, Armin, 2009. "The Relation Between Competition and Investment – Towards a Synthesis," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt8tt4457m, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  5. Dennis Gaertner, 2007. "Why Bayes Rules: A Note on Bayesian vs. Classical Inference in Regime Switching Models," SOI - Working Papers 0719, Socioeconomic Institute - University of Zurich.
  6. Dennis L. Gärtner, 2010. "Monopolistic screening under learning by doing," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 41(3), pages 574-597.
  7. Dario Sacco & Armin Schmutzler, 2008. "Competition and Innovation: An Experimental Investigation," SOI - Working Papers 0807, Socioeconomic Institute - University of Zurich.
  8. Dario Sacco & Armin Schmutzler, 2008. "All-Pay Auctions with Negative Prize Externalities: Theory and Experimental Evidence," SOI - Working Papers 0806, Socioeconomic Institute - University of Zurich.
  9. Schmutzler, Armin, 2010. "The relation between competition and innovation -- Why is it such a mess?," CEPR Discussion Papers 7640, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Adrian Bruhin, 2008. "Stochastic Expected Utility and Prospect Theory in a Horse Race: A Finite Mixture Approach," SOI - Working Papers 0803, Socioeconomic Institute - University of Zurich.
  11. Daniel Halbheer & Ernst Fehr & Lorenz Goette & Armin Schmutzler, 2007. "Self-Reinforcing Market Dominance," SOI - Working Papers 0711, Socioeconomic Institute - University of Zurich.
  12. Sandra Hanslin, 2008. "The effect of trade openness on optimal government size under endogenous firm entry," SOI - Working Papers 0802, Socioeconomic Institute - University of Zurich.

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