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Competition and Efficiency in Congested Markets

  • Daron Acemoglu
  • Asuman Ozdaglar

We study the efficiency of oligopoly equilibria in congested markets. The motivating examples are the allocation of network flows in a communication network or of traffic in a transportation network. We show that increasing competition among oligopolists can reduce efficiency, measured as the difference between users' willingness to pay and delay costs. We characterize a tight bound of 5/6 on efficiency in pure strategy equilibria. This bound is tight even when the number of routes and oligopolists is arbitrarily large. We also study the efficiency properties of mixed strategy equilibria.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w11201.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 11201.

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Date of creation: Mar 2005
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Publication status: published as Acemoglu, Daron and Asuman Ozdaglar. "Competition and Efficiency in Congested Markets." Mathematics of Operations Research 32 (February 2007): 1-31.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11201
Note: EFG LS
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  1. Correa, Jose R. & Schulz, Andreas S. & Stier Moses, Nicolas E., 2003. "Selfish Routing in Capacitated Networks," Working papers 4319-03, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  2. Benassy, Jean-Pascal, 1989. "Market Size and Substitutability in Imperfect Competition: A Bertrand-Edgeworth-Chamberlin Model," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(2), pages 217-34, April.
  3. Wilson, Robert, 1997. "Nonlinear Pricing," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195115826.
  4. Vives, Xavier, 1985. "On the efficiency of Bertrand and Cournot equilibria with product differentation," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 166-175, June.
  5. Hart, Oliver D, 1979. "Monopolistic Competition in a Large Economy with Differentiated Commodities," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(1), pages 1-30, January.
  6. Roberts, Donald John & Postlewaite, Andrew, 1976. "The Incentives for Price-Taking Behavior in Large Exchange Economies," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 44(1), pages 115-27, January.
  7. Dasgupta, Partha & Maskin, Eric, 1986. "The Existence of Equilibrium in Discontinuous Economic Games, I: Theory," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(1), pages 1-26, January.
  8. Novshek, William, 1985. "Perfectly competitive markets as the limits of cournot markets," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 72-82, February.
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