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Behavioral Convergence Properties of Cournot and Bertrand Markets: An Experimental Analysis

  • Douglas D. Davis


    (Department of Economics, VCU School of Business)

This paper reports an experiment that examines the relative convergence properties of differentiated-product Cournot and Bertrand oligopolies. Overall, Bertrand markets tend to converge to Nash equilibrium predictions more quickly and more completely than Cournot markets. Further, when products are close substitutes Bertrand markets respond more quickly to an announced nominal shock. As products become weaker substitutes, however, an increased tendency for tacit collusion degrades convergence in Bertrand markets. This effect is particularly pronounced following a nominal shock. Our results suggest that in an oligopoly context variations in decision error costs dominate a 'Strategic Substitutes Effect' isolated in previous experimental research.

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Paper provided by VCU School of Business, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 0808.

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Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2008
Date of revision: Jan 2011
Handle: RePEc:vcu:wpaper:0808
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  1. Steffen Huck & Hans-Theo Normann & Jörg Oechssler, 2002. "Stability of the Cournot Process - Experimental Evidence," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers bgse1_2002, University of Bonn, Germany.
  2. Rassenti, Stephen & Reynolds, Stanley S. & Smith, Vernon L. & Szidarovszky, Ferenc, 2000. "Adaptation and convergence of behavior in repeated experimental Cournot games," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 117-146, February.
  3. Douglas D. Davis, 2006. "Pure Numbers Effects, Market Power, and Tacit Collusion in Posted Offer Markets," Working Papers 0603, VCU School of Business, Department of Economics, revised Jan 2009.
  4. Suetens, S. & Potters, J.J.M., 2007. "Bertrand colludes more than Cournot," Other publications TiSEM 884b5bf4-2acb-4ce8-b2bf-4, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  5. Heemeijer, Peter & Hommes, Cars & Sonnemans, Joep & Tuinstra, Jan, 2009. "Price stability and volatility in markets with positive and negative expectations feedback: An experimental investigation," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 33(5), pages 1052-1072, May.
  6. Fernando Vega-Redondo, 1997. "The Evolution of Walrasian Behavior," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(2), pages 375-384, March.
  7. Ernst Fehr & Jean-Robert Tyran, 2004. "Limited Rationality and Strategic Interaction - The Impact of the Strategic Environment on Nominal Inertia," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000092, UCLA Department of Economics.
  8. John Haltiwanger & Michael Waldman, 1983. "Rational Expectations and the Limits of Rationality: An Analysis of Heterogeneity," UCLA Economics Working Papers 303, UCLA Department of Economics.
  9. Carlo Altavilla & Luigi Luini & Patrizia Sbriglia, 2005. "Social Learning in Market Games," Labsi Experimental Economics Laboratory University of Siena 003, University of Siena.
  10. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:104:y:1989:i:3:p:463-83 is not listed on IDEAS
  11. Christoph Engel, 2006. "How Much Collusion. A Meta-Analysis On Oligopoly Experiments," Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2006_27, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
  12. Jan Potters & Sigrid Suetens, 2009. "Cooperation in Experimental Games of Strategic Complements and Substitutes," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(3), pages 1125-1147.
  13. Anderson, Simon P. & Goeree, Jacob K. & Holt, Charles A., 2001. "Minimum-Effort Coordination Games: Stochastic Potential and Logit Equilibrium," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 177-199, February.
  14. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1991. "Adaptive and sophisticated learning in normal form games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 3(1), pages 82-100, February.
  15. McKelvey Richard D. & Palfrey Thomas R., 1995. "Quantal Response Equilibria for Normal Form Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 6-38, July.
  16. Cox, James C. & Walker, Mark, 1998. "Learning to play Cournot duopoly strategies," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 141-161, August.
  17. Plott, Charles R., 1989. "An updated review of industrial organization: Applications of experimental methods," Handbook of Industrial Organization, in: R. Schmalensee & R. Willig (ed.), Handbook of Industrial Organization, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 19, pages 1109-1176 Elsevier.
  18. Rosenthal, Robert W, 1989. "A Bounded-Rationality Approach to the Study of Noncooperative Games," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 18(3), pages 273-91.
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