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The limited liability effect in experimental duopoly markets

  • Oechssler, Jorg
  • Schuhmacher, Frank

Brander and Lewis argue in a seminal paper (AER, 1986) that a firm's debt-equity ratio should have important strategic effects on product market competition. We test their model in a duopoly experiment under both, Bertrand and Cournot competition. We find that leverage has strategic effects, but those effects are much weaker than predicted by theory. Specifically, we find for price competition a general tendency towards collusion, which has the same overall consequences - but deviates from - the subgame perfect equilibrium prediction. With quantity competition subjects choose much less debt than predicted by theory. It appears that subjects recognize the strategic effects of their own debt. However, they do not (want to) acknowledge possible strategic advantages of opponents' debt.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal International Journal of Industrial Organization.

Volume (Year): 22 (2004)
Issue (Month): 2 (February)
Pages: 163-184

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Handle: RePEc:eee:indorg:v:22:y:2004:i:2:p:163-184
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505551

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  1. Vital Anderhub & Werner Güth & Ulrich Kamecke & Hans-Theo Normann, 2003. "Capacity Choices and Price Competition in Experimental Markets," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 6(1), pages 27-52, June.
  2. Huck, S. & Müller, W. & Normann, H.T., 2004. "Strategic delegation in experimental markets," Other publications TiSEM 64e031eb-d6bb-4b12-8b1e-1, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
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  7. Chevalier, Judith A, 1995. "Capital Structure and Product-Market Competition: Empirical Evidence from the Supermarket Industry," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 415-35, June.
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  9. Dan Kovenock & Gordon M Phillips, 1995. "Capital Structure and Product Market Behavior: An Examination of Plant Exit and Investment Decisions," Working Papers 95-4, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  10. Chevalier, Judith A, 1995. " Do LBO Supermarkets Charge More? An Empirical Analysis of the Effects of LBOs on Supermarket Pricing," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 50(4), pages 1095-1112, September.
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