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Relaxing competition through speculation: Committing to a negative supply slope

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  • Holmberg, P.
  • Willems, B.

Abstract

We demonstrate how suppliers can take strategic speculative positions in derivatives markets to soften competition in the spot market. In our game, suppliers first choose a portfolio of call options and then compete with supply functions. In equilibrium firms sell forward contracts and buy call options to commit to downward sloping supply functions. Although this strategy is risky, it reduces the elasticity of the residual demand of competitors, who increase their mark-ups in response. We show that this type of strategic speculation increases the level and volatility of commodity prices and decreases welfare.

Suggested Citation

  • Holmberg, P. & Willems, B., 2012. "Relaxing competition through speculation: Committing to a negative supply slope," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1252, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  • Handle: RePEc:cam:camdae:1252
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Sebastien Mitraille & Henry Thille, 2017. "Strategic advance sales, demand uncertainty and overcommitment," Working Papers 1708, University of Guelph, Department of Economics and Finance.
    2. repec:kap:revind:v:52:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s11151-017-9580-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. van Eijkel, Remco & Kuper, Gerard H. & Moraga-González, José L., 2016. "Do firms sell forward for strategic reasons? An application to the wholesale market for natural gas," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 1-35.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Supply function equilibrium; Option contracts; Strategic commitment;

    JEL classification:

    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions
    • G13 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Contingent Pricing; Futures Pricing
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • L94 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Electric Utilities

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