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Price and inventory dynamics in an oligopoly industry: A framework for commodity markets

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  • Steinmetz, Alexander

Abstract

This paper analyzes the interaction between price and inventory decisions in an oligopoly industry and its implications for the dynamics of prices. The work extends existing literature and especially the work of Hall and Rust (2007) to endogenous prices and strategic oligopoly competition. We show that the optimal decision rule is an (S, s) order policy and prices and inventory are strategic substitutes. Fixed ordering costs generate infrequent orders. Consequently, with strategic competition in prices, (S, s) inventory behavior together with demand uncertainty generates endogenous cyclical patterns in prices without any exogenous shocks. Hence, the developed model provides a promising framework for explaining dynamics of commodity markets and especially observed autocorrelation in price fluctuations.

Suggested Citation

  • Steinmetz, Alexander, 2010. "Price and inventory dynamics in an oligopoly industry: A framework for commodity markets," W.E.P. - Würzburg Economic Papers 82, University of Würzburg, Chair for Monetary Policy and International Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:wuewep:82
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Robert S. Pindyck, 1994. "Inventories and the Short-Run Dynamics of Commodity Prices," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 25(1), pages 141-159, Spring.
    2. Kirman, Alan P & Sobel, Matthew J, 1974. "Dynamic Oligopoly with Inventories," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 42(2), pages 279-287, March.
    3. Victor Aguirregabiria, 1999. "The Dynamics of Markups and Inventories in Retailing Firms," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(2), pages 275-308.
    4. Carter, Colin A & MacLaren, Donald, 1997. "Price or Quantity Competition? Oligopolistic Structures in International Commodity Markets," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 5(3), pages 373-385, August.
    5. Margaret E. Slade & Henry Thille, 2006. "Commodity Spot Prices: An Exploratory Assessment of Market Structure and Forward-Trading Effects," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 73(290), pages 229-256, May.
    6. Angus Deaton & Guy Laroque, 1992. "On the Behaviour of Commodity Prices," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 59(1), pages 1-23.
    7. Dutta, Prajit K & Sundaram, Rangarajan, 1992. "Markovian Equilibrium in a Class of Stochastic Games: Existence Theorems for Discounted and Undiscounted Models," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 2(2), pages 197-214, April.
    8. Ellickson, Paul, 2005. "Does Sutton Apply to Supermarkets?," Working Papers 05-05, Duke University, Department of Economics.
    9. George Hall & John Rust, 2007. "The (S,s) Policy is an Optimal Trading Strategy in a Class of Commodity Price Speculation Problems," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 30(3), pages 515-538, March.
    10. Deaton, Angus & Laroque, Guy, 1996. "Competitive Storage and Commodity Price Dynamics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(5), pages 896-923, October.
    11. George J. Stigler, 1961. "The Economics of Information," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 69, pages 213-213.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Inventory dynamics; price competition; oligopoly; (S; s) order policy; commodity markets;

    JEL classification:

    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory
    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • E22 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity
    • L81 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Retail and Wholesale Trade; e-Commerce

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