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Learning and Noisy Equilibrium Behavior in an Experimental Study of Imperfect Price Competition

  • C. Monica Capra
  • Jacob K. Goeree

    ()

  • Rosario Gomez
  • Charles A. Holt

    ()

This paper considers a duopoly price-choice game in which the unique Nash equilibrium is the Bertrand outcome. Price competition, however, is imperfect in the sense that the market share of the high-price firm is not zero. Economic intuition suggests that price levels should be positively related to the market share of the high-price firm. Although this relationship is not predicted by standard game theory, it is implied by a generalization of the Nash equilibrium that results when players make noisy (logit) best responses to expected payoff differences. This logit equilibrium model was used to design a laboratory experiment with treatments that correspond to changing the market share of the high-price firm. The model predicts the final-period price averages for both treatments with remarkable accuracy. Moreover computer simulations of a naive learning model were used, ex ante, to predict the observed differences in the time paths of average prices.

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File URL: http://www.virginia.edu/economics/RePEc/vir/virpap/papers/virpap336.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Virginia, Department of Economics in its series Virginia Economics Online Papers with number 336.

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Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2000
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:vir:virpap:336
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.virginia.edu/economics/home.html

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  1. Colin Camerer & Teck-Hua Ho, 1999. "Experience-weighted Attraction Learning in Normal Form Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(4), pages 827-874, July.
  2. C. Monica Capra, 1999. "Anomalous Behavior in a Traveler's Dilemma?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 678-690, June.
  3. Yan Chen & Fang-Fang Tang, 1998. "Learning and Incentive-Compatible Mechanisms for Public Goods Provision: An Experimental Study," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(3), pages 633-662, June.
  4. Cheung, Yin-Wong & Friedman, Daniel, 1997. "Individual Learning in Normal Form Games: Some Laboratory Results," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 46-76, April.
  5. Charles A. Holt & David T. Scheffman, 1987. "Facilitating Practices: The Effects of Advance Notice and Best-Price Policies," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 18(2), pages 187-197, Summer.
  6. Simon P. Anderson & Jacob K. Goeree & Charles A. Holt, 1999. "The Logit Equilibrium: A Perspective on Intuitive Behavioral Anomalies," Virginia Economics Online Papers 332, University of Virginia, Department of Economics.
  7. Cooper, David J & Garvin, Susan & Kagel, John H, 1997. "Adaptive Learning vs. Equilibrium Refinements in an Entry Limit Pricing Game," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(442), pages 553-75, May.
  8. Akerlof, George A & Yellen, Janet L, 1985. "Can Small Deviations from Rationality Make Significant Differences to Economic Equilibria?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 708-20, September.
  9. Roth, Alvin E. & Erev, Ido, 1995. "Learning in extensive-form games: Experimental data and simple dynamic models in the intermediate term," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 164-212.
  10. Selten, Reinhard & Joachim Buchta, 1994. "Experimental Sealed Bid First Price Auctions with Directly Observed Bid Functions," Discussion Paper Serie B 270, University of Bonn, Germany.
  11. Friedman, James W, 1971. "A Non-cooperative Equilibrium for Supergames," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(113), pages 1-12, January.
  12. Diamond, Peter A., 1971. "A model of price adjustment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 156-168, June.
  13. David M. Kreps & Jose A. Scheinkman, 1983. "Quantity Precommitment and Bertrand Competition Yield Cournot Outcomes," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 14(2), pages 326-337, Autumn.
  14. Simon P. Anderson & Jacob K. Goeree & Charles A. Holt, 1999. "Stochastic Game Theory: Adjustment to Equilibrium Under Noisy Directional Learning," Virginia Economics Online Papers 327, University of Virginia, Department of Economics.
  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. Radner, Roy, 1980. "Collusive behavior in noncooperative epsilon-equilibria of oligopolies with long but finite lives," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 136-154, April.
  17. Erev, Ido & Roth, Alvin E, 1998. "Predicting How People Play Games: Reinforcement Learning in Experimental Games with Unique, Mixed Strategy Equilibria," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(4), pages 848-81, September.
  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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