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Price Competition and Market Concentration: An Experimental Study

  • Dufwenberg, Martin

    ()

    (Department of Economics)

  • Gneezy, Uri

    ()

    (Department of Economics)

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.

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Paper provided by Uppsala University, Department of Economics in its series Working Paper Series with number 1998:8.

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Length: 19 pages
Date of creation: 03 Mar 1998
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in International Journal of Industrial Organization, 2000, pages 7-22.
Handle: RePEc:hhs:uunewp:1998_008
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, Uppsala University, P. O. Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden
Phone: + 46 18 471 25 00
Fax: + 46 18 471 14 78
Web page: http://www.nek.uu.se/
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  1. James W. Friedman, 1965. "An Experimental Study of Cooperative Duopoly," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 192, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  2. 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.
  3. Jorgen W. Weibull, 1997. "Evolutionary Game Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262731215, June.
  4. Plott, Charles R, 1982. "Industrial Organization Theory and Experimental Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 20(4), pages 1485-1527, December.
  5. 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.
  6. William Vickrey, 1961. "Counterspeculation, Auctions, And Competitive Sealed Tenders," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 16(1), pages 8-37, 03.
  7. Drew Fudenberg & David K. Levine, 1998. "Learning in Games," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2222, David K. Levine.
  8. Alger, Dan, 1987. "Laboratory Tests of Equilibrium Predictions with Disequilibrium Data," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(1), pages 105-45, January.
  9. Dufwenberg, M. & Gneezy, U., 1998. "Price Competition and Market COncentration: An Experimental Study," Papers 1998-08, Uppsala - Working Paper Series.
  10. J. Bradford De Long & Andrei Shleifer & Lawrence H. Summers & Robert J. Waldmann, . "Noise Trader Risk in Financial Markets," J. Bradford De Long's Working Papers _124, University of California at Berkeley, Economics Department.
  11. Hoggatt, Austin C & Friedman, James W & Gill, Shlomo, 1976. "Price Signaling in Experimental Oligopoly," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(2), pages 261-66, May.
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