Dynamic duopoly with learning through market experimentation
This paper analyzes how learning behaviors can substantially modify the outcome of competition in an oligopolistic industry facing demand uncertainty. We consider the case of a symmetric duopoly game where firms have imperfect information about market demand and learn through observing the volume of their sales. The main body of the paper consists in showing how market experimentation can explain the existence of price-dispersion in an oligopolistic industry. We study this phenomenon and its dynamic evolution in the context of an Hotelling duopoly model; we then extend the analysis to general demand functions and to N-firm oligopolies. We discuss some implications of the public good aspect of information about market demand. We then conclude with a few comments on what happens when the value of information in the oligopolistic industry is negative.
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