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Insisting on a Non-Negative Price: Oligopoly, Uncertainty, Welfare, and Multiple Equilibria

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  • Johan Lagerlof

    (WZB Berlin)

Abstract

I study Cournot competition under incomplete information about demand while assuming that market price must be non-negative for all demand realizations. Although this assumption is very natural, it has only rarely been made in the earlier literature. Yet it has important economic consequences: (1) multiple (symmetric, pure strategy) equilibria can exist, despite the fact that demand and cost are linear; and (2) expected total surplus can be larger when the firms do not know demand than when they do, a result which has important implications for the social desirability of information sharing. The arguments of the paper are relevant also for price competition and for uncertainty about, e.g., cost or the number of firms, and these issues are discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • Johan Lagerlof, 2003. "Insisting on a Non-Negative Price: Oligopoly, Uncertainty, Welfare, and Multiple Equilibria," Industrial Organization 0304007, EconWPA.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpio:0304007 Note: Type of Document - ; pages: 26; figures: included
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Martin L. Weitzman, 1974. "Prices vs. Quantities," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 41(4), pages 477-491.
    2. Malueg, David A. & Tsutsui, Shunichi O., 1996. "Duopoly information exchange: The case of unknown slope," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 119-136.
    3. Esther Gal-or, 1986. "Information Transmission—Cournot and Bertrand Equilibria," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(1), pages 85-92.
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    19. Carl Shapiro, 1986. "Exchange of Cost Information in Oligopoly," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(3), pages 433-446.
    20. Kai-Uwe Kühn, 2001. "Fighting collusion by regulating communication between firms," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 16(32), pages 167-204, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. 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).
    2. Einy, Ezra & Haimanko, Ori & Moreno, Diego & Shitovitz, Benyamin, 2010. "On the existence of Bayesian Cournot equilibrium," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 77-94, January.
    3. Fabio Tramontana, 2013. "Information exchange in a Cournot duopoly with nonlinear demand function," DEM Working Papers Series 049, University of Pavia, Department of Economics and Management.
    4. Amir, Rabah & Jin, Jim Y. & Troege, Michael, 2010. "Robust results on the sharing of firm-specific information: Incentives and welfare effects," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(5), pages 855-866, September.
    5. Andreas Szczutkowski, 2010. "The Social Value of Cost Information in a Monopolistically Competitive Economy," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 12(2), pages 345-362, April.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D42 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Monopoly
    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General
    • L12 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Monopoly; Monopolization Strategies
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • L40 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - General

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