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Secret information acquisition in Cournot markets


  • Esther Hauk
  • Sjaak Hurkens


Two-stage game models of information acquisition in stochastic oligopolies require the unrealistic assumption that firms observe the precision of information chosen by their competitors before determining quantities. This paper analyzes secret information acquisition as a one-stage game. Relative to the two-stage game firms are shown to acquire less information. Policy implications based on the two-stage game yield, therefore, too high taxes or too low subsidies for research activities. For the case of heterogeneous duopoly it is shown that comparative statics results partly depend on the observability assumption.

Suggested Citation

  • Esther Hauk & Sjaak Hurkens, 1996. "Secret information acquisition in Cournot markets," Economics Working Papers 233, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Aug 1997.
  • Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:233

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Milgrom, Paul R, 1981. "Rational Expectations, Information Acquisition, and Competitive Bidding," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(4), pages 921-943, June.
    2. Li, Lode & McKelvey, Richard D. & Page, Talbot, 1987. "Optimal research for cournot oligopolists," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 140-166, June.
    3. Gal-Or, Esther, 1985. "Information Sharing in Oligopoly," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(2), pages 329-343, March.
    4. Jean-Pierre Ponssard, 1979. "The Strategic Role of Information on the Demand Function in an Oligopolistic Market," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 25(3), pages 243-250, March.
    5. Hwang, Hae-shin, 1995. "Information Acquisition and Relative Efficiency of Competitive, Oligopoly and Monopoly Markets," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 36(2), pages 325-340, May.
    6. Daughety, Andrew F & Reinganum, Jennifer F, 1994. "Asymmetric Information Acquisition and Behavior in Role Choice Models: An Endogenously Generated Signaling Game," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 35(4), pages 795-819, November.
    7. Hurkens, Sjaak & Vulkan, Nir, 2001. "Information acquisition and entry," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 44(4), pages 467-479, April.
    8. Vives, Xavier, 1988. "Aggregation of Information in Large Cournot Markets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(4), pages 851-876, July.
    9. Hwang Hae-shin, 1993. "Optimal Information Acquisition for Heterogenous Duopoly Firms," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 385-402, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Minoru Kitahara & Toshihiro Matsumura, 2008. "Simultaneous Price Changes, Information Acquisition On Common Competitors And Welfare ," Australian Economic Papers, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(4), pages 389-395, December.
    2. Anders Poulsen & Michael Roos, 2010. "Do people make strategic commitments? Experimental evidence on strategic information avoidance," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 13(2), pages 206-225, June.
    3. Amir, Rabah & Lazzati, Natalia, 2016. "Endogenous information acquisition in Bayesian games with strategic complementarities," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 163(C), pages 684-698.
    4. Sjaak Hurkens, 2012. "Bayesian Nash Equilibrium in ''Linear'' Cournot Models with Private Information About Cost," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 924.12, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
    5. Hurkens, Sjaak & Vulkan, Nir, 2006. "Endogenous private information structures," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 35-54, January.
    6. Juan-José Ganuza & Jos Jansen, 2013. "Too Much Information Sharing? Welfare Effects of Sharing Acquired Cost Information in Oligopoly," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(4), pages 845-876, December.
    7. Christophe Caron & Thierry Lafay, 2008. "How Risk Disciplines Pre-Commitment," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 65(3), pages 205-226, November.
    8. Elisabetta Iossa & Francesca Stroffolini, 2007. "Integration and Separation with Costly Demand Information," CSEF Working Papers 170, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
    9. Kazunori Miwa, 2013. "The Impact of Mandatory Disclosure on Information Acquisition: Theory and Experiment," Discussion Papers in Economics and Business 13-01, Osaka University, Graduate School of Economics and Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP).
    10. Poulsen, Anders, 2007. "Learning to Make Strategic Moves: Experimental Evidence," MPRA Paper 10927, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Elisabetta Iossa & Francesca Stroffolini, 2012. "Vertical Integration and Costly Demand Information in Regulated Network Industries," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 40(4), pages 249-271, June.
    12. Gauer, Florian & Kuzmics, Christoph, 2016. "Cognitive empathy in conflict situations," Center for Mathematical Economics Working Papers 551, Center for Mathematical Economics, Bielefeld University.
    13. Szkup, Michal & Trevino, Isabel, 2015. "Information acquisition in global games of regime change," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 160(C), pages 387-428.
    14. Sjaak Hurkens & Nir Vulkan, 1999. "Endogenous information structures," Economics Working Papers 386, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
    15. Eliane Catilina, 2002. "Information Acquisition in Cournot Markets: An (enhanced) two- Stage Approach," Game Theory and Information 0205005, EconWPA.
    16. Anders U. Poulsen & Michael V. M. Roos, 2009. "Do People Make Strategic Moves? Experimental Evidence on Strategic Information Avoidance," Discussion Papers 09-06, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
    17. Ui, Takashi & Yoshizawa, Yasunori, 2015. "Characterizing social value of information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 158(PB), pages 507-535.
    18. Myatt, David P. & Wallace, Chris, 2015. "Cournot competition and the social value of information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 158(PB), pages 466-506.

    More about this item


    Information acquisition; oligopoly; uncertainty; Bayesian equilibrium;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design

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