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Information and Learning in Oligopoly: an Experiment

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  • Maria Bigoni

    () (University of Padova)

Abstract

I report results of an experiment designed to study the relation between the process of information search and learning in a Cournot oligopoly, with limited a priori information. Different theories of learning have been applied to this setting, each yielding a specific market outcome in the long run, and postulating specific informational requirements. By allowing players to choose the information they wish to acquire, and controlling for these choices, I study the features of the learning model actually followed by the subjects, and the relation between the information they gather and the market behavior they adopt. According to my results, learning appears to be a composite process, in which different components coexist. Belief learning seems to be the leading element, as subjects try to form expectations about their opponents' future actions and to best reply to them. When subjects also look at the strategies individually adopted by their competitors, though, they tend to imitate the most successful behavior, which makes markets more competitive. Finally, reinforcement learning also plays a nonnegligible role, as subjects tend to favor strategies that have yielded higher profits in the past. I show that these different elements may be usefully incorporated into a more sophisticated learning model, shaped after self tuning EWA learning model.

Suggested Citation

  • Maria Bigoni, 2008. "Information and Learning in Oligopoly: an Experiment," "Marco Fanno" Working Papers 0072, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche "Marco Fanno".
  • Handle: RePEc:pad:wpaper:0072
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    Cited by:

    1. Buckert, Magdalena & Oechssler, Jörg & Schwieren, Christiane, 2017. "Imitation under stress," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 139(C), pages 252-266.
    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. Tsakas, Nikolas, 2017. "Diffusion by imitation: The importance of targeting agents," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 139(C), pages 118-151.
    4. Bigoni, Maria & Fort, Margherita, 2013. "Information and learning in oligopoly: An experiment," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 192-214.
    5. Mark Armstrong & Steffen Huck, 2011. "Behavioral Economics as Applied to Firms: A Primer," Antitrust Chronicle, Competition Policy International, vol. 1.
    6. Oechssler, Jörg & Roomets, Alex & Roth, Stefan, 2015. "From Imitation to Collusion - A Comment," Working Papers 0588, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.
    7. 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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Information; Learning; Imitation; Collusion;

    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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