IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Capacity Choice under Uncertainty: The Impact of Market Structure


  • Veronika Grimm
  • Gregor Zoettl


We analyze a market game where firms choose capacities under uncertainty about future market conditions and make output choices after uncertainty has unraveled. We show existence and uniqueness of equilibrium under imperfect competition and provide an intuitive characterization of equilibrium investment. We show that investment in oligopoly, in the first and second best solution can be unambiguously ranked, in particular investment incentives are highest in the First Best solution and lowest under imperfect competition. We finally demonstrate that intervention of a social planer only at the production stage leads to strategic uncertainty at the investment stage and moreover decreases total investment below the level obtained under imperfect competition.

Suggested Citation

  • Veronika Grimm & Gregor Zoettl, 2006. "Capacity Choice under Uncertainty: The Impact of Market Structure," Working Paper Series in Economics 23, University of Cologne, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:kls:series:0023

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Reynolds, Stanley S. & Wilson, Bart J., 2000. "Bertrand-Edgeworth Competition, Demand Uncertainty, and Asymmetric Outcomes," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 92(1), pages 122-141, May.
    2. Rabah Amir & Val E. Lambson, 2000. "On the Effects of Entry in Cournot Markets," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(2), pages 235-254.
    3. Sheshinski, Eytan & Dreze, Jacques H, 1976. "Demand Fluctuations, Capacity Utilization, and Costs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(5), pages 731-742, December.
    4. Cramton, Peter & Stoft, Steven, 2005. "A Capacity Market that Makes Sense," The Electricity Journal, Elsevier, vol. 18(7), pages 43-54.
    5. Catherine D. Wolfram, 1999. "Measuring Duopoly Power in the British Electricity Spot Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 805-826, September.
    6. Sandmo, Agnar, 1971. "On the Theory of the Competitive Firm under Price Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(1), pages 65-73, March.
    7. Jean J. Gabszewicz & Sougata Poddar, 1997. "Demand fluctuations and capacity utilization under duopoly," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 10(1), pages 131-146.
    8. Paul L. Joskow & Edward Kohn, 2002. "A Quantitative Analysis of Pricing Behavior in California's Wholesale Electricity Market During Summer 2000," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 4), pages 1-35.
    9. Osborne, Martin J. & Pitchik, Carolyn, 1986. "Price competition in a capacity-constrained duopoly," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 238-260, April.
    10. Xavier Vives, 2001. "Oligopoly Pricing: Old Ideas and New Tools," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 026272040x, July.
    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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Castro-Rodriguez, Fidel & Marín, Pedro L. & Siotis, Georges, 2009. "Capacity choices in liberalised electricity markets," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(7), pages 2574-2581, July.
    2. Gregor, ZOETTL, 2008. "Investment decisions in liberalized electricity markets : A framework of peak load pricing with strategic firms," Discussion Papers (ECON - Département des Sciences Economiques) 2008029, Université catholique de Louvain, Département des Sciences Economiques.
    3. de Frutos, María-Ángeles & Fabra, Natalia, 2011. "Endogenous capacities and price competition: The role of demand uncertainty," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 399-411, July.
    4. Flacher, David & Jennequin, Hugues & Lorenzi, Jean-Hervé, 2006. "Innovation, Investment and Regulation: What are the Options for Regulation in the Near Future?," MPRA Paper 3573, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. repec:dau:papers:123456789/119 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Gabszewicz, Jean & Tarola, Ornella & Zanaj, Skerdilajda, 2010. "On uncertainty when it affects successive markets," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 106(2), pages 133-136, February.
    7. Gürkan, G. & Ozdemir, O. & Smeers, Y., 2013. "Strategic Generation Capacity Choice under Demand Uncertainty : Analysis of Nash Equilibria in Electricity Markets," Discussion Paper 2013-044, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    8. Schröder, Andreas, 2012. "An Electricity Market Model with Generation Capacity Investment under Uncertainty," Annual Conference 2012 (Goettingen): New Approaches and Challenges for the Labor Market of the 21st Century 62068, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    9. Young David, 2010. "Endogenous Investment and Pricing under Uncertainty," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-29, January.

    More about this item


    Investment incentives; demand uncertainty; cost uncertainty; Cournot competition; First Best; Second Best; capacity obligations; spot market regulation;

    JEL classification:

    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • D41 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Perfect Competition
    • D42 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Monopoly
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:kls:series:0023. 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: (Kiryl Khalmetski). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.