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Price competition under cost uncertainty: A laboratory analysis

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  • Klaus Abbink
  • Jordi Brandts

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Abstract

We study the relation between the number of firms and price-cost margins under price competition with uncertainty about competitors' costs. We present results of an experiment in which two, three and four identical firms repeatedly interact in this environment. In line with the theoretical prediction, market prices decrease with the number of firms, but on average stay above marginal costs. Pricing is less aggressive in duopolies than in triopolies and tetrapolies. However, independently from the number of firms, pricing is more aggressive than in the theoretical equilibrium. Both the absolute and the relative surpluses increase with the number of firms. Total surplus is close to the equilibrium level, since enhanced consumer surplus through lower prices is counteracted by occasional displacements of the most efficient firm in production.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC) in its series UFAE and IAE Working Papers with number 550.02.

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Length: 18
Date of creation: 01 Nov 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:aub:autbar:550.02

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Keywords: Laboratory experiments; industrial organisation; oligopoly; price competition;

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Cited by:
  1. Mulder, Machiel & Haan, Marco A. & Dijkstra, Peter T., 2014. "Industry structure and collusion with uniform yardstick competition: theory and experiments," Research Report 14010-EEF, University of Groningen, Research Institute SOM (Systems, Organisations and Management).
  2. Jacob Goeree & Theo Offerman & Randolph Sloof, 2013. "Demand reduction and preemptive bidding in multi-unit license auctions," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 16(1), pages 52-87, March.
  3. Jordi Brandts & Pablo Guillen, 2004. "Collusion and Fights in an Experiment with Price-Setting Firms and Production in Advance," Working Papers 141, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  4. Selten, Reinhard & Apesteguia, Jose, 2005. "Experimentally observed imitation and cooperation in price competition on the circle," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 171-192, April.

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