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Strategic commitment and cooperation in experimental games of strategic complements and substitutes

  • Embrey Matthew
  • Mengel Friederike
  • Peeters Ronald

    (METEOR)

We study the impact of strategic commitment on cooperation in indefinitely repeated games ofstrategic substitutes (Cournot) and complements (Bertrand) using laboratory experiments. Overall,strategic commitment has no effect on cooperation with strategic substitutes and a negative onewith strategic complements. In the absence of strong strategic commitment, we find morecooperation in the complements game than in the substitutes game. However, when subjects are morecommitted to initial plans, a higher level of cooperation is achieved with strategic substitutes.These results cannot be explained by standard risk-dominance or renegotiation considerations, butare consistent with a notion of fear of miscoordination based on minmax regret.

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Paper provided by Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR) in its series Research Memorandum with number 052.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:unm:umamet:2012052
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  1. Huck, Steffen & Muller, Wieland & Normann, Hans-Theo, 2002. "To Commit or Not to Commit: Endogenous Timing in Experimental Duopoly Markets," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 240-264, February.
  2. Andersson, Ola & Wengström, Erik, 2011. "Credible Communication and Cooperation: Experimental Evidence from Multi-stage Games," Working Paper Series 883, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  3. Sylvain Chassang, 2010. "Fear of Miscoordination and the Robustness of Cooperation in Dynamic Global Games With Exit," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(3), pages 973-1006, 05.
  4. Potters, J.J.M. & Suetens, S., 2006. "Cooperation in Experimental Games of Strategic Complements and Substitutes," Discussion Paper 2006-48, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
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  6. Fonseca, Miguel A. & Normann, Hans-Theo, 2012. "Explicit vs. tacit collusion—The impact of communication in oligopoly experiments," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(8), pages 1759-1772.
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  11. Aramendia, Miguel & Larrea, Concepcion & Ruiz, Luis, 2005. "Renegotiation in the repeated Cournot model," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 1-19, July.
  12. Bulow, Jeremy I & Geanakoplos, John D & Klemperer, Paul D, 1985. "Multimarket Oligopoly: Strategic Substitutes and Complements," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(3), pages 488-511, June.
  13. McCutcheon, Barbara, 1997. "Do Meetings in Smoke-Filled Rooms Facilitate Collusion?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(2), pages 330-50, April.
  14. Matthias Blonski & Peter Ockenfels & Giancarlo Spagnolo, 2011. "Equilibrium Selection in the Repeated Prisoner's Dilemma: Axiomatic Approach and Experimental Evidence," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 164-92, August.
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