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On the stability of the Cournot equilibrium: An evolutionary approach

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  • Hommes, C.H.

    () (University of Amsterdam)

  • Ochea, M.

    () (University of Amsterdam)

  • Tuinstra, J.

    () (University of Amsterdam)

Abstract

We construct an evolutionary version of Theocharis (1960)'s seminal work on the stability of equilibrium in multi-player quantity-setting oligopolies. Two sets of behavioral heuristics are investigated under fixed and endogenously evolving fractions: (myopic) Cournot firms vs. Nash firms and Cournot firms vs. rational firms. The analysis with evolutionary competition between these heuristics nests the famous Theocharis instability threshold, n=3, as a special case and shows that Theocharis' result is quite robust. For evolutionary competition between the Cournot and the rational heuristic, both the existence and the magnitude of this threshold depend on the information costs associated with the rational heuristic. When information costs are positive a bifurcation route to chaos occurs as the number of firms increases. The evolutionary model therefore exhibits perpetual but bounded fluctuations, a feature not present in Theocharis' original model.

Suggested Citation

  • Hommes, C.H. & Ochea, M. & Tuinstra, J., 2011. "On the stability of the Cournot equilibrium: An evolutionary approach," CeNDEF Working Papers 11-10, Universiteit van Amsterdam, Center for Nonlinear Dynamics in Economics and Finance.
  • Handle: RePEc:ams:ndfwpp:11-10
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Nabih Agiza, Hamdy & Italo Bischi, Gian & Kopel, Michael, 1999. "Multistability in a dynamic Cournot game with three oligopolists," Mathematics and Computers in Simulation (MATCOM), Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 63-90.
    2. A. Ai-Nowaihi & P. Levine, 1982. "The Stability of the Cournot Oligopoly Model: Reassessment," Working Papers 94, Queen Mary University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
    3. R. D. Theocharis, 1960. "On the Stability of the Cournot Solution on the Oligopoly Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 27(2), pages 133-134.
    4. Bischi, Gian Italo & Naimzada, Ahmad K. & Sbragia, Lucia, 2007. "Oligopoly games with Local Monopolistic Approximation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 62(3), pages 371-388, March.
    5. Szidarovsky, Ferenc & Rassenti, Stephen & Yen, Jerome, 1994. "The stability of the cournot solution under adaptive expectation: A further generalization," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 173-181.
    6. al-Nowaihi, A. & Levine, P. L., 1985. "The stability of the cournot oligopoly model: A reassessment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 307-321, August.
    7. Luis Corchón & Andreu Mas-Colell, 1995. "A Note On Stability Of Best Reply And Gradient Systems With Applications To Imperfectly Competitive Models," Working Papers. Serie AD 1995-18, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
    8. Droste, Edward & Hommes, Cars & Tuinstra, Jan, 2002. "Endogenous fluctuations under evolutionary pressure in Cournot competition," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 232-269, August.
    9. 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.
    10. Steffen Huck & Hans-Theo Normann & Jörg Oechssler, 2002. "Stability of the Cournot process - experimental evidence," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer;Game Theory Society, vol. 31(1), pages 123-136.
    11. Cox, James C. & Walker, Mark, 1998. "Learning to play Cournot duopoly strategies," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 141-161, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Lamantia, Fabio & Pezzino, Mario, 2016. "Evolutionary efficacy of a Pay for Performance scheme with motivated agents," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 125(C), pages 107-119.
    2. repec:spr:joevec:v:27:y:2017:i:5:d:10.1007_s00191-017-0501-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Bischi, Gian Italo & Lamantia, Fabio & Radi, Davide, 2015. "An evolutionary Cournot model with limited market knowledge," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 219-238.
    4. Kopel, Michael & Lamantia, Fabio & Szidarovszky, Ferenc, 2014. "Evolutionary competition in a mixed market with socially concerned firms," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 394-409.
    5. Lamantia, F. & Negriu, A. & Tuinstra, J., 2016. "Evolutionary Cournot competition with endogenous technology choice: (in)stability and optimal policy," CeNDEF Working Papers 16-08, Universiteit van Amsterdam, Center for Nonlinear Dynamics in Economics and Finance.

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