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Price Competition and Market Concentration: An experimental Study

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  • Dufwenberg, Martin

    () (Dept. of Economics, Stockholm University)

  • Gneezy, Uri

    () (Department of Economics, University of Haifa, Israel)

Abstract

The classical price competition model (named after Bertrand), prescribes that in equilibrium prices are equal to marginal costs. Moreover, prices do not depend on the number of competitors. Since this outcome is not in line with real-life observations, it is known as the Bertrand Paradox". Many theoretical problems with the original model have been considered as an explanation of the paradox in the literature. In this paper we experimentally investigate a model which is immune to the theoretical critique of the original model. We find, nevertheless, that the outcome does depend on the number of competitors: the Bertrand solution does not predict well when the number of competitors is two, but after some opportunities for learning are provided it tends to predict well when the number of competitors is three or four. A bounded rationality explanation of this is suggested.

Suggested Citation

  • Dufwenberg, Martin & Gneezy, Uri, 1999. "Price Competition and Market Concentration: An experimental Study," Research Papers in Economics 1999:4, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:sunrpe:1999_0004
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kreps, David M. & Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John & Wilson, Robert, 1982. "Rational cooperation in the finitely repeated prisoners' dilemma," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 245-252, August.
    2. Fudenberg, Drew & Levine, David, 1998. "Learning in games," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-5), pages 631-639, May.
    3. James W. Friedman, 1965. "An Experimental Study of Cooperative Duopoly," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 192, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    4. Dan Alger, 1987. "Laboratory Tests of Equilibrium Predictions with Disequilibrium Data," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 54(1), pages 105-145.
    5. Dufwenberg, Martin & Gneezy, Uri, 2000. "Price competition and market concentration: an experimental study," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 7-22, January.
    6. Jorgen W. Weibull, 1997. "Evolutionary Game Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262731215.
    7. Hoggatt, Austin C & Friedman, James W & Gill, Shlomo, 1976. "Price Signaling in Experimental Oligopoly," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(2), pages 261-266, May.
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    9. De Long, J Bradford & Andrei Shleifer & Lawrence H. Summers & Robert J. Waldmann, 1990. "Noise Trader Risk in Financial Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(4), pages 703-738, August.
    10. Plott, Charles R, 1982. "Industrial Organization Theory and Experimental Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 20(4), pages 1485-1527, December.
    11. 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.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Bertrand Model; Price Competition; Boundered Rationality; noise-bidding;

    JEL classification:

    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets

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