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Risk dominance selects the leader. An experimental analysis

Coordination games arise very often in studies of industrial organization and international trade. This type of games has multiple strict equilibria, and therefore the identification of testable predictions is very difficult. We study a vertical product differentiation model with two asymmetric players choosing first qualities and then prices. This game has two equilibria for some parameter values. However, we apply the risk dominance criterion suggested by Harsanyi and Selten and show that it always selects the equilibrium where the leader is the firm having some initial advantage. We then perform an experimental analysis to test whether the risk dominance prediction is supported by the behaviour of laboratory agents. We show that the probability that the risk dominance prediction is right depends crucially on the degree of asymmetry of the game. The stronger the asymmetries the higher the predictive power of the risk dominance criterion.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra in its series Economics Working Papers with number 222.

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Date of creation: Feb 1997
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Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:222
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.econ.upf.edu/

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  1. Selten, Reinhard, 1996. "Axiomatic Characterization of the Quadratic Scoring Rule," Discussion Paper Serie B 390, University of Bonn, Germany.
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  12. Motta, Massimo, 1993. "Endogenous Quality Choice: Price vs. Quantity Competition," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(2), pages 113-31, June.
  13. Harsanyi John C., 1995. "A New Theory of Equilibrium Selection for Games with Incomplete Information," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 318-332, August.
  14. Motta, M. & Thisse, J.-F. & Cabrales, A., . "On the persistence of leadership or leapfrogging in international trade," CORE Discussion Papers RP -1287, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  15. Clark, K. & Kay, S. & Sefton, M, 1997. "When Are Nash Equilibria Self Enforcing ? An Experimental Analysis," Working Papers 97-04, University of Iowa, Department of Economics.
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  27. Cabrales, Antonio & Motta, Massimo, 1996. "Country Asymmetries, Endogenous Product Choice and the Speed of Trade Liberalization," CEPR Discussion Papers 1326, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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