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Preemption Games: Theory and Experiment

  • Steven T. Anderson
  • Daniel Friedman
  • Ryan Oprea

Several impatient investors with private costs C i face an indivisible irreversible investment opportunity whose value V is governed by geometric Brownian motion. The first investor i to seize the opportunity receives the entire payoff, V-C i. We characterize the symmetric Bayesian Nash equilibrium for this game. A laboratory experiment confirms the model's main qualitative predictions: competition drastically lowers the value at which investment occurs; usually the lowest-cost investor preempts the other investors; observed investment patterns in competition (unlike monopoly) are quite insensitive to changes in the Brownian parameters. Support is more qualified for the prediction that markups decline with cost. (JEL C73, D44, D82, G31)

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 100 (2010)
Issue (Month): 4 (September)
Pages: 1778-1803

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:100:y:2010:i:4:p:1778-1803
Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.100.4.1778
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  1. Huck, Steffen & Normann, Hans-Theo & Oechssler, Jorg, 2004. "Two are few and four are many: number effects in experimental oligopolies," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 53(4), pages 435-446, April.
  2. Dufwenberg, Martin & Gneezy, Uri, 2000. "Price competition and market concentration: an experimental study," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 7-22, January.
  3. Andreas Park & Lones Smith, 2006. "Caller Number Five: Timing Games that Morph from One Form to Another," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1554, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  4. repec:bla:restud:v:76:y:2009:i:3:p:1103-1124 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Henry, Claude, 1974. "Investment Decisions Under Uncertainty: The "Irreversibility Effect."," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(6), pages 1006-12, December.
  6. Lambrecht, Bart & Perraudin, William, 2003. "Real options and preemption under incomplete information," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 619-643, February.
  7. Ryan Oprea & Daniel Friedman & Steven T. Anderson, 2009. "Learning to Wait: A Laboratory Investigation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(3), pages 1103-1124.
  8. McDonald, Robert & Siegel, Daniel, 1986. "The Value of Waiting to Invest," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 101(4), pages 707-27, November.
  9. Timothy Cason & Daniel Friedman, 1999. "Learning in a Laboratory Market with Random Supply and Demand," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 2(1), pages 77-98, August.
  10. Levin, Dan & Peck, James, 2003. " To Grab for the Market or to Bide One's Time: A Dynamic Model of Entry," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 34(3), pages 536-56, Autumn.
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