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Competing Against Simulated Equilibrium Price Dispersions: An Experiment On Internet-Assisted Search Markets

  • Aurora García-Gallego

    ()

    (Universitat Jaume I)

  • Nikolaos Georgantzís

    ()

    (Universitat Jaume I)

  • Pedro Pereira

    ()

    (Autoridade da Concorrência)

  • José C. Pernías-Cerrillo

    ()

    (LINEEX, Universitat de Valencia)

In a four-treatment experiment, we test some of the hypotheses in García-Gallego et al. (2004) concerning competition among a number of firms of which some (or all) are indexed by a price-comparison engine facilitating buyers’ search process. In this paper, we isolate individual behavior from noise due to other players’ actions and learning, facing each subject with simulated rivals whose prices are extracted from mixed strategy equilibrium distributions. We find systematic deviations from both theoretical distributions and previous data obtained in sessions where all players were human. Specifically, departures of experimental data from the corresponding theoretical predictions are enhanced in this setting as compared to our previous research in which all agents were represented by human players. This suggests that the divergence between theoretical and observed price reported there should not be attributed to noisy learning and strategic uncertainty due to subjects’ interaction with other players. Furthermore, economic tests on players’ risk attitudes organize pricing behavior in meaningful, although not always compatible, ways.

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File URL: http://www.netinst.org/Georgantzis.pdf
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Paper provided by NET Institute in its series Working Papers with number 05-12.

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Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:net:wpaper:0512
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.NETinst.org/

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  1. Burdett, Kenneth & Judd, Kenneth L, 1983. "Equilibrium Price Dispersion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(4), pages 955-69, July.
  2. Diamond, Peter A., 1971. "A model of price adjustment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 156-168, June.
  3. Rosenthal, Robert W, 1980. "A Model in Which an Increase in the Number of Sellers Leads to a Higher Price," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(6), pages 1575-79, September.
  4. Pedro Pereira, 2004. "Do Lower Search Costs Reduce Prices and Price Dispersion?," Working Papers 04, Portuguese Competition Authority.
  5. Charles A. Holt & Susan K. Laury, 2002. "Risk Aversion and Incentive Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1644-1655, December.
  6. Baye, Michael R. & Kovenock, Dan & de Vries, Casper G., 1992. "It takes two to tango: Equilibria in a model of sales," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 4(4), pages 493-510, October.
  7. Aurora García-Gallego & Nikolaos Georgantzís & Pedro Pereira & José C. Pernías-Cerrillo, 2004. "Risk Attitudes and Internet Search Engines: Theory and Experimental Evidence," Working Papers 04-03, NET Institute, revised Oct 2004.
  8. Guimaraes, Paulo, 1996. "Search Intensity in Oligopoly," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(4), pages 415-26, December.
  9. Sabater-Grande, Gerardo & Georgantzis, Nikolaos, 2002. "Accounting for risk aversion in repeated prisoners' dilemma games: an experimental test," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 37-50, May.
  10. Varian, Hal R, 1980. "A Model of Sales," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(4), pages 651-59, September.
  11. Samuelson, Larry & Zhang, Jianbo, 1992. "Search costs and prices," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 55-60, January.
  12. Timothy N. Cason & Shakun Datta, 2008. "Costly Buyer Search in Laboratory Markets with Seller Advertising," Purdue University Economics Working Papers 1212, Purdue University, Department of Economics.
  13. Timothy N. Cason & Daniel Friedman, 2000. "Buyer Search and Price Dispersion: A Laboratory Study," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1549, Econometric Society.
  14. Stahl, Dale O, II, 1989. "Oligopolistic Pricing with Sequential Consumer Search," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 700-712, September.
  15. Cason, Timothy N. & Datta, Shakun, 2006. "An experimental study of price dispersion in an optimal search model with advertising," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 639-665, May.
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