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Bertrand Competition Under Uncertainty

  • Eric Rasmusen

    (Indiana University School of Business)

Consider a Bertrand model in which each firm may be inactive with a known probability, so the number of active firms is uncertain. This simple model has a mixed-strategy equilibrium in which industry profits are positive and decline with the number of firms, the same features which make the Cournot model attractive. Unlike in a Cournot model with similar incomplete information, Bertrand profits always increase in the probability other firms are inactive. Profits do decline more sharply than in the Cournot model, and the pattern is similar to that found by Bresnahan and Reiss (1991).

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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Industrial Organization with number 9607002.

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Date of creation: 20 Jul 1996
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Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpio:9607002
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  1. Gaudet, G. & Salant, S.W., 1988. "Uniqueness Of Cournot Equilibrium: New Results From Old Methods," Cahiers de recherche 8818, Université Laval - Département d'économique.
  2. Levitan, Richard & Shubik, Martin, 1972. "Price Duopoly and Capacity Constraints," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 13(1), pages 111-22, February.
  3. Steven Salop & Joseph Stiglitz, 1977. "Bargains and ripoffs: a model of monopolistically competitive price dispersion," Special Studies Papers 94, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  4. Burdett, Kenneth & Judd, Kenneth L, 1983. "Equilibrium Price Dispersion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(4), pages 955-69, July.
  5. 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.
  6. Dasgupta, Partha & Maskin, Eric, 1986. "The Existence of Equilibrium in Discontinuous Economic Games, II: Applications," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(1), pages 27-41, January.
  7. McAfee, R. Preston & McMillan, John, 1987. "Auctions with a stochastic number of bidders," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 1-19, October.
  8. Warner, Elizabeth J & Barsky, Robert B, 1995. "The Timing and Magnitude of Retail Store Markdowns: Evidence from Weekends and Holidays," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(2), pages 321-52, May.
  9. Salant, Stephen W & Switzer, Sheldon & Reynolds, Robert J, 1983. "Losses from Horizontal Merger: The Effects of an Exogenous Change in Industry Structure on Cournot-Nash Equilibrium," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 98(2), pages 185-99, May.
  10. Elmar Wolfstetter & Walter Elberfeld, 1997. "A Dynamic Model of Bertrand Competition with Entry," Microeconomics 9701003, EconWPA.
  11. Bresnahan, T.F & Reiss, P.C., 1989. "Entry And Competition In Concentrated Markets," Papers 151, Stanford - Studies in Industry Economics.
  12. Spulber, Daniel F, 1995. "Bertrand Competition When Rivals' Costs Are Unknown," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(1), pages 1-11, March.
  13. Janssen, Maarten C. W. & van Reeven, Peran, 1998. "Market Prices and Illegal Practices," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 51-60, March.
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