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Two are Few and Four are Many: Number Effects in Experimental Oligopolies

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  • Steffen Huck
  • Hans-Theo Normann
  • Jörg Oechssler

Abstract

In this paper we investigate how the competitiveness of Cournot markets varies with the number of firms in an industry. We review previous Cournot experiments in the literature. Additionally, we conduct a new series of experiments studying oligopolies with two, three, four, and five firms in a unified frame. With two firms we find some collusion. Three-firm oligopolies tend to produce outputs at the Nash level. Markets with four or five firms are never collusive and typically settle at or above the Cournot outcome. Some of those markets are actually quite competitive with outputs close to the Walrasian outcome.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Bonn, Germany in its series Bonn Econ Discussion Papers with number bgse12_2001.

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Length: 14
Date of creation: Mar 2001
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bon:bonedp:bgse12_2001

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Postal: Bonn Graduate School of Economics, University of Bonn, Adenauerallee 24 - 26, 53113 Bonn, Germany
Fax: +49 228 73 6884
Web page: http://www.bgse.uni-bonn.de

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Keywords: Cournot markets; oligopolies; experiments;

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References

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  1. Antoni Bosch-DomËnech & Nicolaas J. Vriend, 2003. "Imitation of successful behaviour in cournot markets," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(487), pages 495-524, 04.
  2. Dufwenberg, M. & Gneezy, U., 1998. "Price competition and market concentration: An experimental study," Discussion Paper 1998-27, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  3. 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.
  4. Charles F. Mason & Owen R. Phillips, 1997. "Information And Cost Asymmetry In Experimental Duopoly Markets," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 79(2), pages 290-299, May.
  5. Feinberg, Robert M & Husted, Thomas A, 1993. "An Experimental Test of Discount-Rate Effects on Collusive Behaviour in Duopoly Markets," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(2), pages 153-60, June.
  6. Steffen Huck & Hans-Theo Normann & Joerg Oechssler, 1998. "Does information about competitors' actions increase or decrease competition in experimental oligopoly markets?," Industrial Organization 9803004, EconWPA.
  7. Franciosi, Robert, et al, 1995. "Fairness: Effect on Temporary and Equilibrium Prices in Posted-Offer Markets," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(431), pages 938-50, July.
  8. Benson, Bruce L. & Faminow, M. D., 1988. "The impact of experience on prices and profits in experimental duopoly markets," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 345-365, June.
  9. Huck, Steffen & Normann, Hans-Theo & Oechssler, Jorg, 1999. "Learning in Cournot Oligopoly--An Experiment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(454), pages C80-95, March.
  10. Reinhard Selten & Michael Mitzkewitz & Gerald R. Uhlich, 1997. "Duopoly Strategies Programmed by Experienced Players," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(3), pages 517-556, May.
  11. Mason, Charles F & Phillips, Owen R & Nowell, Clifford, 1992. "Duopoly Behavior in Asymmetric Markets: An Experimental Evaluation," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(4), pages 662-70, November.
  12. Davis, Douglas D. & Wilson, Bart J., 2005. "Differentiated product competition and the Antitrust Logit Model: an experimental analysis," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 89-113, May.
  13. Mason, Charles F. & Phillips, Owen R. & Redington, Douglas B., 1991. "The role of gender in a non-cooperative game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 215-235, March.
  14. 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.
  15. Steffen Huck & Hans-Theo Normann & Joerg Oechssler, 1997. "Stability of the Cournot Process - Experimental Evidence," Experimental 9707002, EconWPA.
  16. Ronald Harstad & Stephen Martin & Hans-Theo Normann, 1997. "Experimental Tests of Consciously Parallel Behaviour in Oligopoly," CIE Discussion Papers 1997-07, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Centre for Industrial Economics.
  17. Rassenti, Stephen & Reynolds, Stanley S. & Smith, Vernon L. & Szidarovszky, Ferenc, 2000. "Adaptation and convergence of behavior in repeated experimental Cournot games," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 117-146, February.
  18. Brown-Kruse, Jamie, et al, 1994. "Bertrand-Edgeworth Competition in Experimental Markets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 343-72, March.
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