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Insisting on a non-negative price: Oligopoly, uncertainty, welfare, and multiple equilibria

  • Lagerlof, Johan N.M.

I study Cournot competition under incomplete information about demand while assuming that market price must be non-negative for all demand realizations. Although this assumption is very natural, it has only rarely been made in the earlier literature. Yet it has important economic consequences: (1) multiple (symmetric, pure strategy) equilibria can exist, despite the fact that demand and cost are linear; and (2) expected total surplus can be larger when the firms do not know demand than when they do, a result which has important implications for the social desirability of information sharing. The arguments of the paper are relevant also for price competition and for uncertainty about, e.g., cost or the number of firms, and these issues are discussed.

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

Volume (Year): 25 (2007)
Issue (Month): 4 (August)
Pages: 861-875

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Handle: RePEc:eee:indorg:v:25:y:2007:i:4:p:861-875
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505551

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  1. Malueg, David A. & Tsutsui, Shunichi O., 1998. "Distributional assumptions in the theory of oligopoly information exchange1," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 16(6), pages 785-797, November.
  2. Rabah Amir & Val E. Lambson, 1998. "On the Effects of Entry in Cournot Markets," CIE Discussion Papers 1998-06, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Centre for Industrial Economics.
  3. William Novshek & Hugo Sonnenschein, 1982. "Fulfilled Expectations Cournot Duopoly with Information Acquisition and Release," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 13(1), pages 214-218, Spring.
  4. AMIR, Rabah, 1994. "Cournot Oligopoly and the Theory of Supermodular Games," CORE Discussion Papers 1994013, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  5. Shapiro, Carl, 1986. "Exchange of Cost Information in Oligopoly," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(3), pages 433-46, July.
  6. Raith, Michael, 1996. "A General Model of Information Sharing in Oligopoly," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 260-288, October.
  7. Malueg, David A & Tsutsui, Shunichi O, 1998. "Oligopoly Information Exchange When Non-negative Price and Output Constraints May Bind," Australian Economic Papers, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 37(4), pages 363-71, December.
  8. Li, Lode., 1985. "Cournot Oligopoly with Information Sharing," Working Papers 561, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  9. Kai-Uwe Kühn, 2001. "Fighting collusion by regulating communication between firms," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 16(32), pages 167-204, 04.
  10. Richard N. Clarke, 1983. "Collusion and the Incentives for Information Sharing," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 14(2), pages 383-394, Autumn.
  11. Basar, Tamer & Ho, Yu-Chi, 1974. "Informational properties of the Nash solutions of two stochastic nonzero-sum games," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 7(4), pages 370-387, April.
  12. Malueg, David A. & Tsutsui, Shunichi O., 1996. "Duopoly information exchange: The case of unknown slope," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 119-136.
  13. Jean-Pierre Ponssard, 1979. "The Strategic Role of Information on the Demand Function in an Oligopolistic Market," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 25(3), pages 243-250, March.
  14. M. L. Weitzman, 1973. "Prices vs. Quantities," Working papers 106, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  15. Xavier Vives, 2001. "Oligopoly Pricing: Old Ideas and New Tools," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 026272040x, June.
  16. Vives, Xavier, 1984. "Duopoly information equilibrium: Cournot and bertrand," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 71-94, October.
  17. Gal-Or, Esther, 1986. "Information Transmission-Cournot and Bertrand Equilibria," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(1), pages 85-92, January.
  18. Novshek, William, 1985. "On the Existence of Cournot Equilibrium," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(1), pages 85-98, January.
  19. Xavier Vives, 1990. "Trade Association Disclosure Rules, Incentives to Share Information, and Welfare," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 21(3), pages 409-430, Autumn.
  20. Gal-Or, Esther, 1985. "Information Sharing in Oligopoly," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(2), pages 329-43, March.
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