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Through trial & error to collusion


  • Huck, Steffen
  • Oechssler, Jörg
  • Normann, Hans-Theo


In this note we study a very simple trial & error learning process in the context of a Cournot oligopoly. Without any knowledge of the payoff functions players increase, respectively decrease, their quantity by one unit as long as this leads to higher profits. We show that despite the absence of any coordination or punishing device this process converges to a collusive outcome.

Suggested Citation

  • Huck, Steffen & Oechssler, Jörg & Normann, Hans-Theo, 1999. "Through trial & error to collusion," SFB 373 Discussion Papers 1999,57, Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:sfb373:199957

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. John M. Abowd & Patrick Corbel & Francis Kramarz, 1999. "The Entry And Exit Of Workers And The Growth Of Employment: An Analysis Of French Establishments," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(2), pages 170-187, May.
    2. Christopher L. Foote, 1998. "Trend Employment Growth and the Bunching of Job Creation and Destruction," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(3), pages 809-834.
    3. Boeri, Tito, 1996. "Is Job Turnover Countercyclical?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(4), pages 603-625, October.
    4. Steven J. Davis & John Haltiwanger, 1992. "Gross Job Creation, Gross Job Destruction, and Employment Reallocation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(3), pages 819-863.
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    Cited by:

    1. Peter Duersch & Albert Kolb & Joerg Oechssler & Burkhard Schipper, 2005. "Rage Against the Machines: How Subjects Learn to Play Against Computers," Game Theory and Information 0510012, EconWPA.
    2. Altavilla, Carlo & Luini, Luigi & Sbriglia, Patrizia, 2006. "Social learning in market games," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 61(4), pages 632-652, December.
    3. Mark Armstrong & Steffen Huck, 2011. "Behavioral Economics as Applied to Firms: A Primer," Antitrust Chronicle, Competition Policy International, vol. 1.
    4. Burkhard C. Schipper & Jorg Oechssler & Albert Kolb, 2005. "Rage Against the Machines: How Subjects Learn to Play Against Computers," Working Papers 516, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets


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