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To commit or not to commit: Endogenous timing in experimental duopoly markets

  • Steffen Huck

    (Humboldt-University Berlin)

  • Wieland Müller

    (Humboldt-University Berlin)

  • Hans-Theo Normann

    (Humboldt-University Berlin)

In this paper, we experimentally investigate the extended game with action commitment of Hamilton and Slutsky (1990). In their duopoly game, firms can choose their quantities in one of two periods before the market clears. If a firm commits to a quantity in period 1 it does not know whether the other firm also commits early. By waiting until period 2, a firm can observe the other firm's period 1 action. Hamilton and Slutsky predict the emergence of endogenous Stackelberg leadership. Our data, however, does not confirm the theory. While Stackelberg equilibria are extremely rare we often observe endogenous Cournot outcomes and sometimes collusive play. This is partly driven by the fact that endogenous Stackelberg followers learn to behave in a reciprocal fashion over time, i.e., they learn to reward cooperation and to punish exploitation.

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File URL: http://econwpa.repec.org/eps/exp/papers/9906/9906002.pdf
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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Experimental with number 9906002.

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Length: 23 pages
Date of creation: 15 Jun 1999
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpex:9906002
Note: Type of Document - pdf; prepared on IBM PC; to print on PostScript; pages: 23 ; figures: included
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://econwpa.repec.org

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  1. Steffen Huck & Wieland Mueller, 1998. "Perfect versus imperfect observability---An experimental test of Bagwell's result," Experimental 9804001, EconWPA.
  2. Guth, Werner & Schmittberger, Rolf & Schwarze, Bernd, 1982. "An experimental analysis of ultimatum bargaining," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 367-388, December.
  3. van Damme, E.E.C. & Hurkens, S., 1998. "Endogenous Stackelberg leadership," Other publications TiSEM fc1a6ca3-d618-4bc5-a115-f, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  4. Matsumura, Toshihiro, 1999. "Quantity-setting oligopoly with endogenous sequencing," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 289-296, February.
  5. Bagwell, Kyle, 1995. "Commitment and observability in games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 271-280.
  6. Simon, Leo K & Stinchcombe, Maxwell B, 1995. "Equilibrium Refinement for Infinite Normal-Form Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(6), pages 1421-43, November.
  7. Saloner, Garth, 1987. "Cournot duopoly with two production periods," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 183-187, June.
  8. Holt, Charles A, 1985. "An Experimental Test of the Consistent-Conjectures Hypothesis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 314-25, June.
  9. Hans-Theo Normann, 1997. "Endogenous Stackelberg equilibria with incomplete information," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 66(2), pages 177-187, June.
  10. Hamilton, Jonathan H. & Slutsky, Steven M., 1990. "Endogenous timing in duopoly games: Stackelberg or cournot equilibria," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 29-46, March.
  11. Huck, Steffen & Müller, Wieland & Normann, Hans-Theo, 1999. "Stackelberg beats Cournot: On collusion and efficiency in experimental markets," SFB 373 Discussion Papers 1999,32, Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes.
  12. Ellingsen, Tore, 1995. "On flexibility in oligopoly," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 83-89, April.
  13. Robson, Arthur J, 1990. "Stackelberg and Marshall," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 69-82, March.
  14. Reinhard Selten & Michael Mitzkewitz & Gerald R. Uhlich, 1997. "Duopoly Strategies Programmed by Experienced Players," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(3), pages 517-556, May.
  15. John C. Harsanyi & Reinhard Selten, 1988. "A General Theory of Equilibrium Selection in Games," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262582384, June.
  16. Mailath George J., 1993. "Endogenous Sequencing of Firm Decisions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 169-182, February.
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