Does Cost Uncertainty in the Bertrand Model Soften Competition?
Although naive intuition may indicate the opposite, the existing literature suggests that uncertainty about costs in the homogeneous-good Bertrand model intensifies competition: it lowers price and raises total surplus (but also makes profits go up). Those results, however, are derived under two assumptions that, if relaxed, conceivably could reverse the results. The present paper first shows that the results hold also if drastic innovations are possible. Next, the paper assumes asymmetric cost distributions, a possibility that is empirically highly plausible but which has been neglected in the previous literature. Using numerical methods it is shown that, under this assumption, uncertainty lowers price and raises total surplus even more than with identical distributions. However, if the asymmetry is large enough, industry profits are lower under uncertainty; this is in contrast to the known results and reinforces the notion that uncertainty intensifies competition rather than softens it.
|Date of creation:||Feb 2012|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Centre for Economic Policy Research, 77 Bastwick Street, London EC1V 3PZ.|
Phone: 44 - 20 - 7183 8801
Fax: 44 - 20 - 7183 8820
|Order Information:|| Email: |
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Raith, Michael, 1996. "A General Model of Information Sharing in Oligopoly," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 260-288, October.
- Susan Athey, 2002.
"Monotone Comparative Statics under Uncertainty,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
Oxford University Press, vol. 117(1), pages 187-223.
- Lofaro, Andrea, 2002. "On the efficiency of Bertrand and Cournot competition under incomplete information," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 561-578, September.
- Paul Klemperer, 1999.
"Auction Theory: A Guide to the Literature,"
- Leandro Arozamena & erico Weinschelbaum, 2008.
"Simultaneous vs. Sequential Price Competition with Incomplete Information,"
Department of Economics Working Papers
2008_3, Universidad Torcuato Di Tella.
- Arozamena, Leandro & Weinschelbaum, Federico, 2009. "Simultaneous vs. sequential price competition with incomplete information," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 104(1), pages 23-26, July.
- Eric Maskin & John Riley, 2000. "Asymmetric Auctions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(3), pages 413-438.
- Blume, Andreas, 2003. "Bertrand without fudge," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 78(2), pages 167-168, February.
- Kirkegaard, René, 2009. "Asymmetric first price auctions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(4), pages 1617-1635, July.
- Robert G. Hansen, 1988. "Auctions with Endogenous Quantity," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 19(1), pages 44-58, Spring.
- Wayne-Roy Gayle & Jean Richard, 2008. "Numerical Solutions of Asymmetric, First-Price, Independent Private Values Auctions," Computational Economics, Springer;Society for Computational Economics, vol. 32(3), pages 245-278, October.
- Marshall Robert C. & Meurer Michael J. & Richard Jean-Francois & Stromquist Walter, 1994. "Numerical Analysis of Asymmetric First Price Auctions," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 193-220, September.
- Paul Klemperer, 1999. "Auction Theory: A Guide to the Literature," Economics Series Working Papers 1999-W12, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
- Matthew Spiegel & Heather Tookes, 2008. "Dynamic Competition, Innovation and Strategic Financing," Yale School of Management Working Papers amz2500, Yale School of Management.
- Fibich, Gadi & Gavish, Nir, 2011. "Numerical simulations of asymmetric first-price auctions," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 479-495.
- Li, Huagang & Riley, John G., 2007. "Auction choice," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 25(6), pages 1269-1298, December.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8817. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.