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Forward induction and the excess capacity puzzle: An experimental investigation

While the theoretical industrial organization literature has long argued that excess capacity can be used to deter entry into markets, there is little empirical evidence that incumbent firms effectively behave in this way. Bagwell and Ramey (1996) propose a game with a specific sequence of moves and partially-recoverable capacity costs in which forward induction provides a theoretical rationalization for firm behavior in the field. We conduct an experiment with a game inspired by their work. In our data the incumbent tends to keep the market, in contrast to what the forward induction argument of Bagwell and Ramey would suggest. The results indicate that players perceive that the first mover has an advantage without having to pre-commit capacity. In our game, evolution and learning do not drive out this perception. We back these claims with data analysis, a theoretical framework for dynamics, and simulation results.

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Paper provided by Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC) in its series UFAE and IAE Working Papers with number 586.03.

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Length: 40
Date of creation: 27 Aug 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:aub:autbar:586.03
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  1. Dixit, Avinash, 1980. "The Role of Investment in Entry-Deterrence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 90(357), pages 95-106, March.
  2. Cooper, Russell & Douglas V. DeJong & Robert Forsythe & Thomas W. Ross, 1993. "Forward Induction in the Battle-of-the-Sexes Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1303-16, December.
  3. van Damme, Eric, 1989. "Stable equilibria and forward induction," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 476-496, August.
  4. Esther Hauk & Sjaak Hurkens, 1999. "On forward induction and evolutionary and strategic stability," Economics Working Papers 408, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Sep 1999.
  5. Antonio Cabrales, 1993. "Stochastic replicator dynamics," Economics Working Papers 54, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  6. R. Muller & Asha Sadanand, 2003. "Order of Play, Forward Induction, and Presentation Effects in Two-Person Games," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 6(1), pages 5-25, June.
  7. Huck, Steffen & Muller, Wieland, 2000. "Perfect versus Imperfect Observability--An Experimental Test of Bagwell's Result," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 174-190, May.
  8. Van Huyck John B. & Battalio Raymond C. & Beil Richard O., 1993. "Asset Markets as an Equilibrium Selection Mechanism: Coordination Failure, Game Form Auctions, and Tacit Communication," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 485-504, July.
  9. Battigalli, Pierpaolo, 1996. "Strategic Rationality Orderings and the Best Rationalization Principle," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 178-200, April.
  10. Geroski, P. A., 1995. "What do we know about entry?," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 421-440, December.
  11. Tilman B�rgers & Rajiv Sarin, . "Learning Through Reinforcement and Replicator Dynamics," ELSE working papers 051, ESRC Centre on Economics Learning and Social Evolution.
  12. Singh, Satwinder & Utton, Michael & Waterson, Michael, 1998. "Strategic behaviour of incumbent firms in the UK," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 229-251, March.
  13. Colin Camerer & Teck-Hua Ho, 1999. "Experience-weighted Attraction Learning in Normal Form Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(4), pages 827-874, July.
  14. Drew Fudenberg & David K. Levine, 1996. "The Theory of Learning in Games," Levine's Working Paper Archive 624, David K. Levine.
  15. Drew Fudenberg & David K. Levine, 1998. "Learning in Games," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2222, David K. Levine.
  16. E. Kohlberg & J.-F. Mertens, 1998. "On the Strategic Stability of Equilibria," Levine's Working Paper Archive 445, David K. Levine.
  17. Mason, Charles F. & Nowell, Cliff, 1998. "An experimental analysis of subgame perfect play: the entry deterrence game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 443-462, December.
  18. Smiley, Robert, 1988. "Empirical evidence on strategic entry deterrence," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 167-180.
  19. Schotter, Andrew & Weigelt, Keith & Wilson, Charles, 1990. "A Laboratory Investigation Of Multi-Person Rationality And Presentation Effects," Working Papers 90-24, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  20. Xavier Vives, 2001. "Oligopoly Pricing: Old Ideas and New Tools," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 026272040x, June.
  21. Cooper, Russell & De Jong, Douglas V. & Forsythe, Robert & Ross, Thomas W., 1992. "Forward induction in coordination games," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 167-172, October.
  22. Bagwell, Kyle, 1995. "Commitment and observability in games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 271-280.
  23. Balkenborg, Dieter, 1994. "An Experiment on Forward- versus Backward Induction," Discussion Paper Serie B 268, University of Bonn, Germany.
  24. Brandts, Jordi & Holt, Charles A., 1995. "Limitations of dominance and forward induction: Experimental evidence," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 49(4), pages 391-395, October.
  25. Franco Modigliani, 1958. "New Developments on the Oligopoly Front," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 66, pages 215.
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