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Investment Incentives and Market Power: An Experimental Analysis

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Author Info

  • Dean V. Williamson

    (Economic Analysis Group, Antitrust Division, Department of Justice)

  • Céline Jullien

    (Université de Grenoble)

  • Lynne Kiesling

    (International Foundation for Research in Experimental Economics (IFREE) and Department of Economics, Northwestern University)

  • Carine Staropoli

    (Université Panthéon-Sorbonne)

Abstract

We examine investment incentives and market power in an experimental market. We characterize market power as the strategic interdependence of subjects' investment decisions and output decisions. The market is designed so that investment and output decisions can be jointly characterized as strategies within a game. A Nash-Cournot equilibrium of the game provides a way of characterizing how investment incentives and market power interact. Subjects could invest in two different production technologies and could produce output to serve as many as two different demand conditions. The technologies were analogous to "baseload" capacity and "peaking" capacity in wholesale electricity markets. The Nash-Cournot benchmark constituted a good indicator of subjects' output decisions in that output cycled around the Cournot benchmark. Thus, on average, consumers extracted the surplus available to them in the equilibrium. While we do not observe Edgeworth Cycles in prices or outputs, we do see them in the producer surplus series. Producers dissipated some of the surplus they could have extracted in the equilibrium by overinvesting in peaking capacity and underinvesting in baseload capacity. Inefficient investment diminished total system efficiency, but producers' investments in total production capacity tracked the Nash-Cournot benchmark. In contrast, monopoly explanations such as collusion do not characterize the data.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Justice, Antitrust Division in its series EAG Discussions Papers with number 200605.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:doj:eagpap:200605

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Postal: Department of Justice Antitrust Division 450 Fifth Street NW Washington, DC 20530
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Web page: http://www.justice.gov/atr/
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Related research

Keywords: capacity investment; Cournot; supply function equilibrium; Edgeworth Cycles; market power; electricity markets; investment incentives;

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References

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  1. Joskow, P. & Edward Kahn, 2002. "A Quantitative Analysis of Pricing Behavior In California’s Wholesale Electricity Market During Summer 2000," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0211, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
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  5. Anderhub, V. & Guth, W. & Kamecke, U. & Normann, H.T., 2001. "Capacity Cjoices and Price Competition in Experimental Market," Papers 179, Flinders of South Australia - Discipline of Economics.
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  8. Bushnell, James & Wolfram, Catherine, 2008. "Electricity Markets," Staff General Research Papers 31547, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
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  10. Roques Fabien A. & Newbery David M. & Nuttall William J., 2005. "Investment Incentives and Electricity Market Design: the British Experience," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 4(2), pages 1-36, June.
  11. Banks, Jeffrey S. & Ledyard, John O. & Porter, David P., . "Allocating Uncertain and Unresponsive Resources," Working Papers 680, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  12. Reynolds, Stanley S. & Wilson, Bart J., 2000. "Bertrand-Edgeworth Competition, Demand Uncertainty, and Asymmetric Outcomes," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 92(1), pages 122-141, May.
  13. Stephen J. Rassenti & Bart J. Wilson, 2004. "How Applicable is the Dominant Firm Model of Price Leadership?," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 7(3), pages 271-288, October.
  14. 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.
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  16. Carl Blumstein & Lee Friedman & Richard Green, 2002. "The History of Electricity Restructuring in California," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 2(1), pages 9-38, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Henze, B. & Noussair, C.N. & Willems, Bert, 2011. "Regulation of Network Infrastructure Investments: An Experimental Evaluation," Discussion Paper 2011-019, Tilburg University, Tilburg Law and Economic Center.
  2. Lynne Kiesling & Bart Wilson, 2007. "An experimental analysis of the effects of automated mitigation procedures on investment and prices in wholesale electricity markets," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 31(3), pages 313-334, June.

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