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Capacity precommitment as a barrier to entry: a Bertrand-Edgeworth approach

  • Beth Allen
  • Raymond Deneckere
  • Tom Faith
  • Dan Kovenock

This paper considers the role of capacity as a strategic entry deterrent for a game in which the incumbent and entrant sequentially precommit to capacity levels before competing in price, possibly using mixed strategies. Depending on the magnitudes of the fixed set-up cost, the cost of capacity, and the relative costs of production, the model produces a wide spectrum of equilibrium behaviors, including some not previously suggested in the literature. Interesting deterrence effects occur because firms need time to build. In contrast to much previous work, the incumbent may hold idle capacity when entry is deterred.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis in its series Staff Report with number 187.

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Date of creation: 1995
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmsr:187
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  1. Deneckere, R., 1989. "Capacity-Constrained Price Competition When Unit Costs Differ," Purdue University Economics Working Papers 958, Purdue University, Department of Economics.
  2. Dixit, Avinash, 1979. "The Role of Investment in Entry-Deterrence," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 140, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  3. Raymond J. Deneckere & Dan Kovenock, 1988. "Capacity-Constrained Price Competition When Unit Costs Differ," Discussion Papers 861, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  4. Dixon, Huw, 1985. "Strategic Investment in an Industry with a Competitive Product Market," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 33(4), pages 483-99, June.
  5. A. Michael Spence, 1977. "Entry, Capacity, Investment and Oligopolistic Pricing," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 8(2), pages 534-544, Autumn.
  6. Raymond Deneckere & Dan Kovenock, 1988. "Price Leadership," Discussion Papers 773, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  7. Levitan, Richard & Shubik, Martin, 1972. "Price Duopoly and Capacity Constraints," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 13(1), pages 111-22, February.
  8. Saloner, Garth, 1985. "Excess capacity as a policing device," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 83-86.
  9. Shapiro, Carl, 1989. "Theories of oligopoly behavior," Handbook of Industrial Organization, in: R. Schmalensee & R. Willig (ed.), Handbook of Industrial Organization, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 6, pages 329-414 Elsevier.
  10. Spulber, Daniel F, 1981. "Capacity, Output, and Sequential Entry," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 503-14, June.
  11. Carl Davidson & Raymond Deneckere, 1986. "Long-Run Competition in Capacity, Short-Run Competition in Price, and the Cournot Model," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(3), pages 404-415, Autumn.
  12. Fudenberg, Drew & Tirole, Jean, 1984. "The Fat-Cat Effect, the Puppy-Dog Ploy, and the Lean and Hungry Look," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(2), pages 361-66, May.
  13. Basu, Kaushik & Singh, Nirvikar, 1990. "Entry-Deterrence in Stackelberg Perfect Equilibria," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 31(1), pages 61-71, February.
  14. Franco Modigliani, 1958. "New Developments on the Oligopoly Front," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 66, pages 215.
  15. David M. Kreps & Jose A. Scheinkman, 1983. "Quantity Precommitment and Bertrand Competition Yield Cournot Outcomes," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 14(2), pages 326-337, Autumn.
  16. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1982. "Time to Build and Aggregate Fluctuations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1345-70, November.
  17. Allen, Beth, 1993. "Capacity precommitment as an entry barrier for price-setting firms," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 63-72, March.
  18. Bulow, Jeremy & Geanakoplos, John & Klemperer, Paul, 1985. "Holding Idle Capacity to Deter Entry [The Role of Investment in Entry Deterrence]," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 95(377), pages 178-82, March.
  19. Allen, Beth & Hellwig, Martin, 1986. "Price-Setting Firms and the Oligopolistic Foundations of Perfect Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(2), pages 387-92, May.
  20. Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1987. "Technological Change, Sunk Costs, and Competition," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 18(3), pages 883-947.
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