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Information and Learning in Oligopoly: An Experiment

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  • Bigoni, Maria

    (University of Bologna)

  • Fort, Margherita

    (University of Bologna)

Abstract

This paper presents an experiment on learning in repeated games, which complements the analysis of players' actual choices with data on the information acquisition process they follow. Subjects play a repeated Cournot oligopoly, with limited a priori information. The econometrics hinges on a model built upon Experience Weighted Attraction learning, and the simultaneous analysis of data on the information gathered and on actions taken by the subjects. Results suggest that learning is a composite process, in which different components coexist. Adaptive learning emerges as the leading element, but when subjects look at the strategies individually adopted by their competitors they tend to imitate the most successful behavior, which makes markets more competitive. Reinforcement learning also plays a role, as subjects favor strategies that have yielded higher profits in the past.

Suggested Citation

  • Bigoni, Maria & Fort, Margherita, 2013. "Information and Learning in Oligopoly: An Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 7125, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7125
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    Cited by:

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    2. Jörg Oechssler & Alex Roomets & Stefan Roth, 2016. "From imitation to collusion: a replication," Journal of the Economic Science Association, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 2(1), pages 13-21, May.
    3. Francesco Fallucchi & Jan Niederreiter & Massimo Riccaboni, 2021. "Learning and dropout in contests: an experimental approach," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 90(2), pages 245-278, March.
    4. Bigoni, Maria, 2010. "What do you want to know? Information acquisition and learning in experimental Cournot games," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 1-17, March.
    5. Masiliūnas, Aidas & Nax, Heinrich H., 2020. "Framing and repeated competition," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 124(C), pages 604-619.
    6. Bayona, Anna & Brandts, Jordi & Vives, Xavier, 2020. "Information frictions and market power: A laboratory study," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 122(C), pages 354-369.
    7. Jasmina Arifovic & Liang Dia & Nobuyuki Hanaki, 2023. "An individual evolutionary learning model meets Cournot," ISER Discussion Paper 1200, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
    8. Mario Biggeri & Domenico Colucci & Nicola Doni & Vincenzo Valori, 2021. "Good deeds, business, and social responsibility in a market experiment," Working Papers - Economics wp2021_14.rdf, Universita' degli Studi di Firenze, Dipartimento di Scienze per l'Economia e l'Impresa.
    9. Tsakas, Nikolas, 2017. "Diffusion by imitation: The importance of targeting agents," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 139(C), pages 118-151.
    10. Cerboni Baiardi, Lorenzo & Naimzada, Ahmad K., 2018. "An oligopoly model with best response and imitation rules," Applied Mathematics and Computation, Elsevier, vol. 336(C), pages 193-205.
    11. Bigoni, Maria & Fort, Margherita, 2013. "Information and learning in oligopoly: An experiment," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 192-214.
    12. Lorenzo Cerboni Baiardi & Ahmad K. Naimzada, 2018. "An evolutionary model with best response and imitative rules," Decisions in Economics and Finance, Springer;Associazione per la Matematica, vol. 41(2), pages 313-333, November.
    13. Lorenzo Cerboni Baiardi & Ahmad K. Naimzada, 2019. "An evolutionary Cournot oligopoly model with imitators and perfect foresight best responders," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(3), pages 458-475, July.
    14. Jan Niederreiter, 2023. "Broadening Economics in the Era of Artificial Intelligence and Experimental Evidence," Italian Economic Journal: A Continuation of Rivista Italiana degli Economisti and Giornale degli Economisti, Springer;Società Italiana degli Economisti (Italian Economic Association), vol. 9(1), pages 265-294, March.
    15. Cerboni Baiardi, Lorenzo & Naimzada, Ahmad K., 2019. "An oligopoly model with rational and imitation rules," Mathematics and Computers in Simulation (MATCOM), Elsevier, vol. 156(C), pages 254-278.
    16. Nobuyuki Hanaki & Aidas Masiliunas, 2021. "Market Concentration and Incentives to Collude in Cournot Oligopoly Experiments," ISER Discussion Paper 1131, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
    17. Oechssler, Jörg & Roomets, Alex & Roth, Stefan, 2015. "From Imitation to Collusion - A Comment," Working Papers 0588, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.
    18. Mario Biggeri & Domenico Colucci & Nicola Doni & Vincenzo Valori, 2022. "Sustainable Entrepreneurship: Good Deeds, Business, Social and Environmental Responsibility in a Market Experiment," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 14(6), pages 1-20, March.
    19. Vives, Xavier & Bayona, Anna & Brandts, Jordi, 2016. "Supply Function Competition, Private Information, and Market Power: A Laboratory Study," IESE Research Papers D/1146, IESE Business School.
    20. Segismundo S. Izquierdo & Luis R. Izquierdo, 2015. "The “Win-Continue, Lose-Reverse” Rule In Oligopolies: Robustness Of Collusive Outcomes," Advances in Complex Systems (ACS), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 18(05n06), pages 1-23, August.
    21. Armstrong, Mark & Huck, Steffen, 2010. "Behavioral economics as applied to firms: a primer," MPRA Paper 20356, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    22. Nikolas Tsakas, 2014. "Optimal influence under observational learning," Gecomplexity Discussion Paper Series 4, Action IS1104 "The EU in the new complex geography of economic systems: models, tools and policy evaluation", revised Nov 2014.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Cournot oligopoly; EWA learning; imitation; information;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games

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