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Do forward markets enhance competition?: Experimental evidence

Listed author(s):
  • Le Coq, Chloe
  • Orzen, Henrik

Hedging risks is an important rationale for the existence of forward markets. However, Allaz and Vila (1993) show that duopolists can also have a strategic motive to sell forward, irrespective of exogenous uncertainties. Moreover, in their model the possibility of forward trading increases competitiveness between the two firms, raising consumer surplus and welfare. In this study we analyze the case of an n firm oligopoly in Allaz’ and Vila’s framework and derive comparative static predictions with regard to the market institution and the number of competitors. We then test the theoretical hypotheses in a laboratory experiment. Our findings support the main comparative-static predictions of the model but also suggest that, when compared to the increase in competitive pressure due to entry, the competition-enhancing effect of a forward market is weaker than predicted.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

Volume (Year): 61 (2006)
Issue (Month): 3 (November)
Pages: 415-431

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:61:y:2006:i:3:p:415-431
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo

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  1. Sunder, S., 1992. "Experimental Asset Markets: A Survey," GSIA Working Papers 1992-19, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
  2. Stanley S. Reynolds, 2000. "Durable-Goods Monopoly: Laboratory Market and Bargaining Experiments," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 31(2), pages 375-394, Summer.
  3. Huck, Steffen & Müller, Wieland & Normann, Hans-Theo, 2000. "Strategic delegation in experimental markets," SFB 373 Discussion Papers 2000,39, Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes.
  4. Powell, Andrew, 1993. "Trading Forward in an Imperfect Market: The Case of Electricity in Britain," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 103(417), pages 444-453, March.
  5. Allaz, Blaise, 1992. "Oligopoly, uncertainty and strategic forward transactions," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 297-308, June.
  6. Von Der Fehr, N.H.M. & Harbord, D., 1992. "Long-Tern Contracts and Imperfectly Competitive Spot Markets : A Study of U.K. Electricity Industry," Memorandum 14/1992, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  7. Coase, Ronald H, 1972. "Durability and Monopoly," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages 143-149, April.
  8. Steffen Huck & Hans-Theo Normann & Jörg Oechssler, 2001. "Two are Few and Four are Many: Number Effects in Experimental Oligopolies," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers bgse12_2001, University of Bonn, Germany.
  9. Rajnish Kamat & Shmuel Oren, 2004. "Two-settlement Systems for Electricity Markets under Network Uncertainty and Market Power," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 25(1), pages 5-37, January.
  10. Steffen Huck & Hans-Theo Normann & Joerg Oechssler, 1997. "Learning in Cournot Oligopoly - An Experiment," Game Theory and Information 9707009, EconWPA, revised 22 Jul 1997.
  11. Jordi Brandts & Paul Pezanis-Christou & Arthur Schram, 2003. "Competition with Forward Contracts: A Laboratory Analysis Motivated by Electricity Market Design," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 581.03, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  12. 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.
  13. Phillips, Owen R. & Menkhaus, Dale J. & Krogmeier, Joseph L., 2001. "Production-to-order or production-to-stock: the endogenous choice of institution in experimental auction markets," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 333-345, March.
  14. Ferreira José Luis, 2006. "The Role of Observability in Futures Markets," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 6(1), pages 1-22, June.
  15. Allaz Blaise & Vila Jean-Luc, 1993. "Cournot Competition, Forward Markets and Efficiency," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 1-16, February.
  16. Hughes, John S. & Kao, Jennifer L., 1997. "Strategic forward contracting and observability," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 121-133, November.
  17. David M. Newbery, 1998. "Competition, Contracts, and Entry in the Electricity Spot Market," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 29(4), pages 726-749, Winter.
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